England opening batsman Keaton Jennings said Virat Kohli’s exuberant celebrations after running out skipper Joe Root on Day 1 of the first Test at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
The India skipper pulled off a direct hit from midwicket with the sun in his eyes to catch Root short at the non-striker’s end before blowing a kiss in the general direction of the departing batsman and then putting his finger to the lip.
Radio commentators suggested Kohli taunted Root that he should ‘drop the mike’ again, referring to the batsman dropping his bat after scoring a second successive match-winning century to seal the ODI series at Leeds ahead of the Test series.
Root had re-built the England innings and top-scored with 80 when he fell as India triggered a batting collapse to reduce the hosts to 285/9 at stumps.
“Everybody is entitled to celebrate how they want to. He celebrated, and that’s cool,” Jennings told the media after the first day’s play.
He denied India held the upper hand.
“You look, after 85 overs with an old ball, there still seems to be quite a lot of lateral movement. From our point of view, we’ve got (nearly) 300 on the board – and if we can come out and be pretty relentless in the way we go about hitting our areas, at some point tomorrow…, you don’t actually know what a good score is until both sides have batted.”
Root was run out by fellow Yorkshire teammate Jonny Bairstow but Jennings denied there was any recrimination over that.
“That’s cricket … it’s based on human error. Whether it was a mix-up, I don’t know, I wasn’t in the middle. It’s down to them to shake hands, have a beer tonight and sort it out.”
Jennings, who hit a century on Test debut in India two years ago, was dropped on nine, but didn’t make it count as he fell on 42.
He hailed his skipper for holding the England innings together after the pair had put on 72 runs for the second wicket. “Rooty played fantastically well. The way he goes about constructing his innings, builds it, communicates with me as a young cricketer, is absolutely phenomenal.
“Having batted with him today, he’s taught me a hell of a lot – which is awesome, just to watch a master at his work. He’s a fantastic player, fantastic guy – and to watch him go about building a Test innings on a pretty tough surface was pretty good.
Jennings didn’t blame a pigeon that strayed on to the pitch for his dismissal the next delivery – he played on against Mohammed Shami — after chasing the stubborn bird away.
“I’ve obviously made an error, misjudged the ball, and it’s ended up in my stumps … that’s the way it is.”
Blame the pigeon? “No, not at all, 30 overs before, people were standing up behind the bowler’s arm … you could say that distracted me as well.
“You re-focus, go through your own method, your own process between each ball. I wouldn’t say it distracted me at all – it just happens to be the ball before I got out, and suddenly there’s a huge hoo-hah about the pigeon.”