Stuart Broad toasted a “fantastic toss to lose” after he authored India’s demise on day one of the fourth Investec Test.
Touring captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni ignored warning signs in the shape of morning drizzle and dank grey clouds at Emirates Old Trafford and opted to bat first.
Broad and James Anderson duly worked wonders with the new ball, reducing India to 8-4 in a riotous opening burst and finishing the job for 152 after Dhoni counter-punched with 71.
Broad took the last four wickets in a single spell to return 6-25.
England moved to 113-3 by stumps, a handsome position heading into day two, but Broad conceded captain Alastair Cook was fortunate at the toss.
“To be honest, when we lost the toss I was a bit disappointed because I thought it was a big one to win,” he said. “We got lucky with the overheads, it became cloudy and it felt quite heavy.
“At the end of the day it turned out to be a fantastic toss to lose because we would have batted as well.”
While Broad was happy to accept England had enjoyed a helping hand from mother nature, he did acknowledge at least some of the brilliance on display from himself and Anderson.
“We got lucky with the overheads, but not with the skill we produced,” he said.
“To put the ball in the right areas as often as we did was great, it swung nicely, we challenged the Indian batsmen on the front foot and we held our catches.
“That first hour was as good for bowling conditions as you get and it felt like every ball we could get a wicket.
“I can’t remember playing in a Test where we’ve knocked over the top order like that.
“They were all pretty decent balls as well, it’s not as if the batsman will be kicking themselves for poor shots.
“The top order didn’t get the chance to settle. The bouncer went through pretty well and it’s hard batting when you feel you can get hit on the head but it’s also swinging and bouncing from full length.”
Ravichandran Ashwin, recalled after being bafflingly overlooked for the first three Tests, was one of just three Indians to reach double figures with a breezy 40. He admits India, who registered a joint Test record of six ducks, fell short of expectations.
“We could have got a little more, you always want a little more,” he said.
“But they bowled really well and exploited conditions.”