Rohit and Jadeja steady India after top order wobble

Rohit and Jadeja steady India after top order wobble


Rohit suffered a blow to his helmet, was dropped in the slip and had an lbw decision reversed

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RAJKOT (Reuters) – India captain Rohit Sharma combined with Ravindra Jadeja in a 152-run stand for the unbroken fourth wicket on Thursday to help the hosts weather a top-order wobble and reach 185 for three at tea on the opening day of the third Test.

Rohit suffered a blow to his helmet, was dropped in the slip and succeeded in having an lbw decision against him reversed en route to his 97, which included two sixes.

Jadeja, back in the side after missing the second Test in Visakhapatnam due to a hamstring issue, looked assured at the other end and was on 68.

Rohit decided to bat first on a flat pitch but Mark Wood, replacing spinner Shoaib Bashir, proved the value of extra pace even on such a docile track.

The England fast bowler had Yashasvi Jaiswal (10), who smashed a double hundred in the previous test in Visakhapatnam, caught by Joe Root in the slip in his second over.

Wood then dismissed Shubman Gill, caught behind for a duck, in his next over.

England captain Ben Stokes, playing his 100th test, introduced spin in the ninth over and was rewarded immediately.

Rajat Patidar had made five when left-arm spinner Tom Hartley surprised him with extra bounce and the batter chipped the ball to Ben Duckett at cover.

India slumped to 33-3 and Wood continued to bowl with relentless hostility, hitting Rohit on his helmet grille.

Rohit got a life on 27 when he edged Hartley and Root at slip dived to his left but could not grab it.

The opener was adjudged lbw to James Anderson but the decision was reversed after replays confirmed the ball had hit bat first.

Rohit and Jadeja batted resolutely to deny England a breakthrough in the second session, dragging India back into the contest.

Earlier, 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