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.
“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.