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Virat Kohli to escape sanction for ‘mic-drop’ celebration after spectacular Joe Root run-out

Virat Kohli will almost certainly escape punishment despite appearing to direct a foul-mouthed “mic drop” celebration at Joe Root after spectacularly running out the England captain.

The India captain also blew a kiss and put a finger over his lips as he marked a key dismissal in Wednesday’s first day at Edgbaston. Root had reached 80, and appeared set for his first Test century in a year when he was run-out by a direct hit from Kohli, fielding at midwicket, when attempting to complete a second run for Jonny Bairstow.

Celebrating the dismissal, Kohli appeared to do a mic drop, an act commonly associated with rappers and comedians to signal the end of a statement so definitive it cannot be followed. It was apparently in response to Root theatrically dropping his bat after hitting the match-winning four in the one-day series victory over India at Headingley last month.

Television replays suggested Kohli might have accompanied his gestures with strong language but speaking after the close, Keaton Jennings said that England did not mind Kohli’s reaction. “Everybody’s entitled to celebrate how they want to. He celebrated and that’s cool,” the England opener said.

At this stage, Kohli does not look set to receive any punishment from the match referee, and it is unclear what words he uttered while celebrating. The incident reinforced the perception that a feisty series is in store. During the tour of India in 2016/17, when he batted brilliantly, Kohli’s abrasive style appeared to rattle England. Root’s run-out – his 11th half-century in Test cricket since last reaching a century against the West Indies at Edgbaston a year earlier – transformed a day that England had been dominating. From 216-3, England collapsed to 283-9 at the close of play.

Joe Root is run-out by a direct throw from Virat Kohli
Joe Root is run-out by a direct throw from Virat Kohli CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

“It is an opportunity missed. It was a mixed day,” Jennings said. “After 85 overs there was still quite a bit of lateral movement. So with [close to] 300 on the board, if we can be relentless when we bowl you don’t actually know what a good score is until both sides have batted. We need to take that opportunity when we bowl. We need to stamp our authority on the game. Hopefully we can come out tomorrow and make it really tough for them.”

India’s off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took four wickets on the opening day, calling into question the wisdom of both teams in only selecting one spinner. But Jennings said the ball was “going sideways” from India’s four seam bowlers.

 

“It was a little bit tacky this morning, started out a little bit damp, and it just felt like the odd ball held in the surface,” he said. “The ball has gone laterally; it has turned slightly – and we just need to be pretty relentless about the way we go about our work, smashing good lengths, lines and make it really tough for them to get away, as they did to us at certain times.”

Meanwhile, there remains a slim chance that Ben Stokes could yet feature in the Lord’s Test next week. Stokes is due in court in Bristol next Monday to face a charge of affray, relating to an incident in Bristol last September, and the case is expected to last around a week.

If the case is adjourned for any reason, England are open to considering if he can be involved in the second Test. If Stokes is unavailable, Moeen Ali may well be recalled to the team.

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