Virat Kohli was left so stunned by his dismissal in the first morning of the 2nd Test that he refused to believe he had been bowled.
Moeen Ali enjoyed the perfect return to Test match duty by getting a ball to spin between the bat and pad of the Indian skipper’s attempted drive to take the bails off.
It was the first time that Kohli had been removed for a duck in Test cricket by a spinner, and it was his bearded Royal Challengers Bangalore team-mate who did it.
Former England batsman Mark Butcher was on commentary as the Chepauk Stadium fell eerily silent and Kohli’s reaction immediately reminded him of a great player of yesteryear.
“He’s given it the full WG Grace and just stood there after being bowled,” said Butcher before turning to his co-commentators. “Have you ever seen anyone stand there that long after being clean bowled?
“Kohli might be wondering if the ball has ricocheted off the keeper, but it has just clean bowled him.
“The crowd are stunned. Their champion player has gone. That is not a great shot to the spinner early in your innings.”
Sporting a giant beard of his own Victorian cricketer WG Grace dominated the game to such an extent it is claimed he once replaced the bails after being bowled with the quip “They have come to watch me bat, not watch you bowl.”
That may well have been the case here as 15,000 fans appeared as stunned as Kohli, who looked much like he did back in 2018 when another England spinner, Adil Rashid, bowled him in an ODI.
And Butcher wasn’t the only former England left handed top order batsman to be unimpressed by the shot selection with Sir Andrew Strauss offering his thoughts from the Channel 4 studio.
“That’s a bit of a lazy shot from Vitat Kohli to be honest,” said Strauss. “Not one that you would expect from him.
“He just couldn’t believe that Moeen Ali had got him out on day one of a Test match.
“Kohli won’t be happy with the shot. It is a high risk shot against the spin and England were celebrating at getting him out so early.”
Moeen was delighted with the wicket as too was Ben Stokes, charging from slip with his left hand pointing to the sky in pure elation at seeing India’s best batsman undone so easily.
It was the third wicket of a pulsating first session that saw Olly Stone return to the side and take a wicket with his third ball when Shubman Gill was lbw playing no shot to a ball that would have hit the stumps.
Jack Leach removed Cheteshwar Pujara thanks to an edge that was safely pouched by Stokes, indicating that the pitch is already turning sharply.