Joe Root’s run out by opposing captain Virat Kohli sparked an England collapse against India on the opening day of the first Test at Edgbaston on Wednesday and may well have set the tone for the series after the tourists’ skipper gave him a colourful and controversial send-off.
At stumps, England were 285 for nine in what is their 1,000th Test.
However, the action may yet be overshadowed by suggestions that Kohli swore at Root and mocked the home skipper’s ‘mic drop’ celebration in a one-day clash between the two sides last month.
England had been well-placed at 216 for three, with Root seemingly on course to score a first Test century since his 136 against the West Indies during last year’s day/night clash at Edgbaston.
But his 11th Test fifty without a hundred since that innings ended in frustrating fashion after a run out involving Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow.
Wicket-keeper Bairstow played the ball to midwicket for a single and then set off for what always looked a tight second, with Root comfortably run out by Kohli’s agile direct hit on the turn to end a 156-ball innings including nine fours.
It was also the finish of a fourth-wicket stand worth 104.
However, Kohli rubbed salt into the wound by blowing kisses in the direction of Root and putting his finger to his lips, as if to quieten crowd of more than 18,000.
He also did the ‘mic drop’ gesture in imitation of Root’s celebration of his one-day series-clinching hundred against India at the batsman’s Headingley home ground last month.
But it is the suggestion that Kohli may have sworn at Root that could land him in trouble with match referee Jeff Crowe, the former New Zealand captain.
As has often been the case, a needless dismissal was also the spark for a collapse, with England losing three wickets for eight runs in 25 balls as they squandered a promising position.
One way Bairstow could have atoned for his part in denying Root a 14th Test century was to have gone to three figures himself.
But a brisk innings of 70 in 88 balls, featuring nine fours, was terminated when Bairstow played on to paceman Umesh Yadav as he tried to cut a ball that was too close to him.
Jos Buttler was then lbw for a second-ball duck to off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who took four wickets for 60 runs in 25 overs, as he played across the line.
And when Ben Stokes (21) chipped a gentle return catch to Ashwin, England were 243 for seven.
They would have been all out a ball before the close if diving wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik had not dropped Sam Curran (24 not out) off Mohammed Shami when an edged chance was heading straight to Shikhar Dhawan at first slip.
Nevertheless, it was England who had the most regrets come the close after Root won the toss on a typically good Edgbaston pitch.
Ashwin, brought on as soon as the seventh over by Kohli, struck with his 11th delivery when he bowled Alastair Cook (13), England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer, with an excellent ball that pitched on middle and hit the top of off stump.
Just prior to Cook’s dismissal, fellow left-handed opener Keaton Jennings was dropped on nine off Ishant Sharma when Ajinkya Rahane, diving across from fourth slip, failed to hold a tough chance.
At lunch, England were 83 for one.
Shami was eventually rewarded for his persistent accuracy when Jennings played on for 42.
Shami then had Dawid Malan lbw for eight and he arguably deserved better figures than his return of two for 64 in 19 overs.