England's Wood strikes early blows as India 93-3 in third Test

England's Wood strikes early blows as India 93-3 in third Test


Captain Rohit Sharma won the toss in Rajkot but Wood had India on the back foot

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RAJKOT (AFP/Reuters) – England fast bowler Mark Wood took two wickets to rattle India's top order before the hosts recovered to 93-3 at lunch after electing to bat in the third Test on Thursday.

Captain Rohit Sharma won the toss in Rajkot but Wood had India on the back foot with the wickets of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill.

They then slipped to 33-3 when spinner Tom Hartley removed Rajat Patidar.

Rohit, on 52, led the recovery and made it safely to the interval, putting on an unbroken stand of 60 with Ravindra Jadeja who was 24 not out.

The match is the 100th Test for England captain Ben Stokes, who guided his team to an opening 28-run win in the five-match series, now level at 1-1 after India won the second Test by 106 runs.

Wood came in as the only change for England and had the left-handed Jaiswal caught at slip by Joe Root for 10 in the fourth over.

In the next over he induced another nick from Gill, who was snapped up by wicketkeeper Ben Foakes without scoring.

Spin was introduced after eight overs and Hartley struck with his fifth ball when Patidar chipped to Ben Duckett at cover for five from a ball that gripped and turned.

Rohit then attacked to drag his team back into the session, scoring regular boundaries as he reached his fifty off 71 balls.

The India skipper did survive a chance on 27 when Root dropped a catch in the slips.

In the next over he was given out lbw to James Anderson, who needs five more dismissals to reach 700 Test wickets, but successfully reviewed with replays showing a faint edge.

Reuters adds: Wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel and middle order batter Sarfaraz Khan were given their first Test caps after the hosts made four changes to the side.

With the five-match series poised at 1-1, India captain Rohit Sharma elected to bat at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium after winning the toss.

"Rajkot is supposed to be a good pitch. It is a good toss for us to win to bat first and put runs on the board," Rohit said.

"The next three Test matches are going to be as exciting as the first two. We need to keep our focus on what we need to do here."

With Virat Kohli skipping the series for personal reasons and KL Rahul nursing a thigh strain, India have rewarded 26-year-old Sarfaraz for his prolific form in domestic cricket.

Jurel was picked primarily for being a more attacking batter than Srikar Bharat, who kept wicket in the first two Tests.

Paceman Mohammed Siraj and spin all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja returned with Mukesh Kumar and Axar Patel sitting out.

In the only change to the England side, fast bowler Mark Wood replaced spinner Shoaib Bashir for skipper Ben Stokes's 100th test match.

Stokes said the tourists were feeling rejuvenated after a short vacation in Abu Dhabi.

"We have been very happy with how we have gone about things in the first two tests," he added.

"It has been a nice break to recharge."


England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (captain), Ben Foakes (wicketkeeper), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Mark Wood, James Anderson

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Jurel (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj