All-out for 205, on a good pitch for batting, after several promising partnerships finished in the 40s? Put in those terms, England had a stinker – and look, that’s tough to refute. But measured against lowly expectations? After falling to 30/3? And adding a breakthrough with the ball before stumps? It really could have been worse.
It’s with that cold comfort, for England fans, we begin today. If you’re with me at half past three UK time, thank you. You can keep me company. As you can if you are tuning in from India, Australia or anywhere else in the world. I mention the latter because, remember, if England do win this (however unlikely) it will be Tim Paine’s team in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand.
To begin, let’s recap on the finer points of the opening day with Andy Bull’s report, which celebrates India’s superb Ashwin-Axar axis for the umpteenth time over the last three Tests. G’morning from England!