India v England: Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja centuries keep the tourists in check

A 204-run partnership for the fourth wicket, coupled with a sublime debut fifty from Sarfaraz Khan, quelled an England side that made an impressive start in the opening hour but quickly found themselves under pressure as conditions eased


Rajkot (day one of five): India 326-5, Englandย 

Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja both hit centuries as England played second fiddle to India on day one of the third Test in Rajkot.

The pair came together at 33 for 3 after a fine burst from Mark Wood and responded with a fourth-wicket stand worth 204.

Sarfaraz Khan added a debut 62 but was run out by Wood shortly before the close but India, on 326 for 5, have a strong base from which to build over the coming days.

It was a tricky day for England. Joe Root, who put down Rohit on 27, went at more than five-an-over and Rehan Ahmed produced 14 wicketless.

Tom Hartley struck in his first over and though he was able to extract some turn and bounce from the surface that success will surely be playing on the minds of his teammates when they come to bat in the second and fourth innings of the match.

After the drama of Hyderabad and a keenly contested Test in Visakhapatnam, India and England, tied at 1-1, reconvened at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium with the series lead up for grabs.

The hosts handed debuts to Sarfaraz and Dhruv Jurel as two of four changes, with the fit-again Jadeja and recalled Mohammed Siraj also returning.

India got first use of a good-looking pitch but an England side possessing two seamers for the first time in the series made a heartening start.

Wood had Yashasvi Jaiswal (10), the double-centurion from the second Test, caught by Joe Root and added Shubman Gill, who had added a hundred of his own in the second innings, in his next over for a nine-ball duck.

Rajat Patidar (5) was unable to calm the early clatter of wickets, instead serving up a simple catch to Ben Duckett as Hartley struck in his first over from a ball which gripped and bounced up awkwardly.

Reduced to 33 for 3, the hosts almost plummeted to an even more desperate position when Rohit's ungainly flick caught the edge by was shelled by Root.

The very next delivery Joel Wilson gave the skipper out, trapped lbw by James Anderson, but this time DRS came to the rescue.

It was a series of lives which the flamboyant 36-year-old used extremely effectively.

Some stubborn defence, good decisiveness when England's spinners dropped short and more assistance from the technology helped him en route to his first fifty of the series.

But the second half of his innings was far more routine; Hartley and Root were crashed over the rope and Rehan Ahmed was flicked through mid-on before Rohit reached his 11th Test hundred with a two through point.

The returning Jadeja meanwhile perfectly performed the role of accomplice as the pair put on 204 for the fourth wicket to belatedly put England firmly on the back foot.

The third over of Wood's fourth spell split the partnership - Rohit failed to get on top of a bouncer and picked out Ben Stokes, playing his 100th Test - to spark guttural celebrations which suggested a significant moment in the day.

Sarfaraz, however, had other ideas and upon settling into his work quickly started putting England's tired attack, who had 63 overs in their legs by the time he arrived, to work.

And 48 balls later his debut Test had a maiden half-century to go alongside it - but his first day in international cricket was prematurely cut short in cruel circumstances.

Jadeja had dropped anchor at the other end, attempting to nurse his way through to a hundred. On 99, he caressed the ball the mid-on, called Sarafaraz through, but sent him back only in time to see Wood throw down his stumps at the non-striker's end.

Rohit's dismal in the dressing summed up how avoidable the situation was and though three figures would arrive from the very next ball for Jadeja the landmark was accompanied by a notably understated celebration.

Indeed, it took the gloss of a day which after a troubling morning session India dominated - it was perhaps their best of the series thus far - finally quelling a spirited England.

The Cricketer's chief correspondent George Dobell will be providing full analysis and reaction from day one in Rajkot.

Subscribers get exclusive access to the best analysis of England's Test tour of India from our chief correspondent George Dobell.ย Join them by signing up here for just ยฃ3.99!

Related Topics


THE CRICKETER NEWSLETTER Get all the latest cricket news to your inbox, twice a week SIGN UP

Thank You! Thank you for subscribing!





Units 7-8, 35-37 High St, Barrow upon Soar, Loughborough, LE128PY

Welcome to - the online home of the worldโ€™s oldest cricket magazine. Breaking news, interviews, opinion and cricket goodness from every corner of our beautiful sport, from village green to national arena.