England v India: Virat Kohli hits 97 on opening day of third Test

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport at Trent Bridge
Third Specsavers Test, Trent Bridge (day one of five)
India 307-6 (87 overs): Kohli 97, Rahane 81, Woakes 3-75
England: Yet to bat

India's batsmen breathed life into their tour of England on day one of the third Test at Trent Bridge.

Virat Kohli made a superb 97 and Ajinkya Rahane 81 to help the visitors to 307-6 after England won the toss.

Chris Woakes' three wickets had reduced them to 82-3, only for Kohli and Rahane to add 159 for the fourth wicket.

India were set to end the day in a very strong position, only for James Anderson to remove Hardik Pandya with the final delivery.

India's quest will be to reach 400 on Sunday morning against a second new ball that is only seven overs old.

England - 2-0 up and aiming to seal a series victory - looked set to have their decision to field first vindicated as the ball moved around on a grassy surface.

But, Woakes aside, their pace bowlers did not carry a consistent threat until an improved Stuart Broad removed Rahane after tea.

Ben Stokes, returning to the side after being cleared of affray, was particularly ineffective, returning 0-54 from 15 overs.

India revived

As well as India competed in the thrilling first Test at Edgbaston, their capitulation in the second at Lord's raised fears the remainder of the series would be one-sided.

Prior to this match, they had won only one of 11 Tests in England and passed 200 just once in their previous nine completed innings.

For the 45th consecutive Test, they tinkered with their team - including fit-again pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah, giving a debut to 20-year-old wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and recalling opener Shikhar Dhawan.

Dhawan provided much-needed positivity at the top of the order and, after Kohli and Rahane dominated the middle of the day, Pant hit his second ball in Test cricket for six.

England were not quite at their best and ended up spending a full day in the field for the first time in the series.

While that is damaging to their hopes of defeating the world number ones at the earliest possible opportunity, it is good for the spectacle of the remainder of this match and the two that follow.

Kohli leads again

Kohli averaged 60 in the first two Tests, yet not one of his team-mates managed to post a single score in excess of 33.

While the India top order showed some improvement against the moving ball, the visitors were still in danger of capitulating when Kohli was joined by Rahane.

The skipper was circumspect at first, but moved into trademark cover drives, flicks to fine leg and punishment whenever leg-spinner Adil Rashid dropped short.

At the other end, Rahane played purposeful cuts, a shot that almost proved his undoing when a leaping Anderson parried a very difficult chance at point when the right-hander was on 57.

Just as England's frustration was beginning to peak, Rahane flashed an edge off Broad, with Alastair Cook somehow clinging on to a fantastic reaction catch at first slip, falling to his left to intercept the ball one-handed.

Kohli remained, seemingly a certainty for his second ton of the series, only to be tempted by Rashid into edging a drive to Stokes at slip.

Furious with himself, Kohli shouted his frustration as he left the field to a standing ovation.

England below their best

England's logic for bowling first was sound - the pitch had patches of furry grass, the early conditions were cloudy and they had a vulnerable batting line-up in their sights.

However, for as much as the ball nipped around, it was often too short or wide to threaten, with Dhawan proactively looking to score.

It took the introduction of Woakes, man of the match at Lord's, to improve England's morning.

His skidding length had Dhawan held at second slip, KL Rahul lbw and Cheteshwar Pujara inexplicably caught pulling on the stroke of lunch.

The hosts, though, were blunted in the afternoon, with Stokes and Rashid disappointing. Only Broad's effort after tea, coupled with Cook's stunning catch, began to drag England back into it.

If England thought Kohli's exit would spark an India collapse, they were frustrated by Pant and Pandya, the latter dropped by Keaton Jennings at third slip after gloving Broad.

He had added only four more runs when he edged Anderson to second slip Jos Buttler for 18, giving England late cheer on a day that otherwise belonged to India.

'Finally, we have a proper contest' - analysis & reaction

Former England captain Michael Vaughan on Test Match Special: "It has been really good Test cricket.

"When you see a team dominate like England did at Lord's you get a bit bored but today has been a proper contest.

"I think Joe Root is in the dressing room thinking he should have batted after winning the toss.

"Tomorrow, though, England could go bang, bang, bang and get them out for 340 and you think that's about par.

"I'm looking forward to seeing more of Pant. I've seen him in the IPL and he'll just come out and play.

"Ashwin is a good batsman too, he has been possibly the second best batsman for them, so it is not going to be easy to bowl them out.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing how the England batsmen play when the opposition has a good score on the board."

James Anderson now has 100 Test wickets against India following his late dismissal of Hardik Pandya
James Anderson now has 100 Test wickets against India following his late dismissal of Hardik Pandya

England bowler Chris Woakes: "I think it was an even day overall. When you go out there and have a bowl there is always that added pressure as a bowler to skittle them early but credit to India, I thought they played pretty well.

"There was probably a period through the middle of the day when it didn't do quite as much and they capitalised on that."

On Ben Stokes' return to the team: "He's the same as he always is, desperate to do well and perform for England.

"He's been great around the group, trained as hard as he ever does - there's been no real difference."

And finally...

England bowler Stuart Broad appeared to suffer a nasty sting when running in to bowl on Saturday afternoon when a wasp, or something similar, flew into his mouth and landed on his tongue...


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