England beat India in the first Test at Edgbaston as Ben Stokes shines

England celebrate
England celebrate

Ben Stokes took three wickets on the fourth morning of the first Test as England beat India in a thrilling match at Edgbaston.

India began the morning as slight favourites with only 84 runs required and five wickets still in hand - including that of first innings centurion Virat Kohli - but were handed a hammer blow in the first over of the day.

James Anderson produced yet another beautiful outswinger which Dinesh Karthik could only edge to second slip and Dawid Malan atoned for his dropped catches earlier in the match when holding on well at second slip.

Kohli was untroubled, though, and moved serenely to his half-century when nudging Anderson off his pads to the fine-leg boundary for four.

Hardik Pandya found the going much tougher when he arrived at the crease but soon settled into his work and sent a few alarm bells ringing in the England camp when drilling Stuart Broad down the ground in consecutive overs.

With India looking more and more comfortable and the target now approaching 50, England captain Joe Root turned to Ben Stokes and the Durham all-rounder produced when it was needed most, changing the course of the match with a brilliant over.

Kohli (51), who England had managed to keep away from the strike somewhat, walked across his stumps to work a straight delivery to the leg side but when the ball thudded into his pads, umpire Aleem Dar was in no doubt.

Despite the Indian skipper calling for a review, he was soon sent on his way and left the field to a standing ovation.

In the same over, Stokes produced another snorter, a vicious lifter taking the edge of Mohammed Shami and landing safely in the hands of Jonny Bairstow to leave India tottering at 141-8.

With England now going in for the kill, Stokes found the outside edge of Ishant Sharma but the ball raced through the slips for four before Sharma fended at a short ball and picked up another boundary as the ball looped over the cordon and away to the rope.

Root pulled off his second masterstroke of the morning as Adil Rashid's arrival into the attack paid immediate dividends, the Yorkshire leg-spinner sneaking a googly past the defences of Sharma who, with the help of DRS, was given out LBW.

Stokes (4-40) wrapped up England's victory a few overs as later when Pandya (31) - who had brought the target within 31 - edged to Alistair Cook at first slip to spark jubilant celebrations.

Root believes praise is due to both bowling groups after the Test match was completed in less than 10 sessions.

He said: "I'm obviously thrilled to bits. It was a fantastic team performance, there have been ups and downs throughout but credit has to go to both bowling sides more than anything.

"The easy thing to do is criticise the batters but it was obviously a very challenging pitch to take as many wickets as has gone down over the course of three and a bit days.

"I asked the guys to go out there and play with some passion and show some belief and if we stayed calm throughout then we would give ourselves the best chance and that's exactly what happened."

Stokes said afterwards: "It was great to be a part of this game.

"Great start to this tough five-match series and being 1-0 up, we're in the box seat.

"It will give us heaps of confidence. Winning those tight games, you cannot underestimate what it gives teams for confidence."

Kohli was keen to take positives from the game: "It was a great game of cricket, great for everyone watching. I'm glad to be part of such an exciting Test match.

"We definitely need to apply ourselves more with the bat. We've just got to be positive, fearless, enjoy our cricket and try and take the negatives out of the equation, look at the positives and try and build on those."

He went on: "They (England) were relentless in the areas that they hit and they made us work hard for those runs.

"Definitely could have applied ourselves better but I'm still proud of the fight that we showed and it sets up the series really nicely, it's going to be exciting for people to watch."

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