India vs England: Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja lead hosts' fightback in third Test after early wickets

February 15, 2024

Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja both scored centuries to lead an India fightback on day one of the third Test against England after Mark Wood had reduced the hosts to 33-3 in Rajkot.

Wood, who replaced Shoaib Bashir in the England side, struck twice in the morning session to remove India’s double-centurion from the second Test, Yashasvi Jaiswal (10), and Shubman Gill for a duck.

Left-arm spinner Tom Hartley then continued his good form when he had Rajat Patidar (5) caught at extra cover as the tourists claimed three wickets within the first 45 minutes of play, this after India had won the toss and elected to make first use of what looks a belting batting track.

Rohit (131) helped rescue the innings, bringing up his 11th Test century as part of a formidable 204-run partnership with Jadeja, who finished the day unbeaten on 110 as the hosts closed on 326-5.

Rohit was dropped on 27 by Joe Root at slip, in the 13th over of the day, a miss that ultimately cost England 104 runs before Wood struck again after the break when he bounced out India's skipper, caught at midwicket.

India’s debutant Sarfaraz Khan (62) showed his class as he raced to a 48-ball half-century, smashing nine fours and one six before being run out by a direct-hit from Wood late in the day.

Wood strikes on return

Fast bowler Wood struggled to pick up a wicket during the first Test in Hyderabad, finishing with figures of 0-47 in the first innings and 0-15 in the second innings, and was left out of the side for the second Test.

However, he made the most of the damp conditions on the first morning in Rajkot, using the invariable bounce the pitch offered to his advantage.

Jaiswal hit the first ball of the day down the ground for four but was removed cheaply in the fourth over when he edged Wood to Joe Root at first slip.

Wood continued to bring the outside edge into play, bowling wide of the crease, and Gill, who struck 104 during India’s series-levelling win in Vizag, attempted to defend the ball with a straight bat but instead feathered behind to Ben Foakes to leave India 22-2 within the first 30 minutes of play.

Patidar then attempted to cut Hartley but top-edged the left-arm spinner to Ben Duckett at extra cover to leave India 33-3 by the ninth over.

Rohit shines for India

Rohit swept, cut and pulled his way to his 11th Test ton, nine of which have come on home soil, as he shared the highest partnership of the series so far with Jadeja.

The India captain stepped up his performance after disappointing returns of 24 and 27 runs in the first and second Tests respectively.

He batted with great fluency, bringing up his half-century off 51 balls, before later hitting Rehan Ahmed through the leg-side for a couple to bring up his third century against England.

Jadeja, who missed the second Test after picking up a hamstring injury in Hyderabad, added further, much-needed middle-order resistance with Sarfaraz, sharing a 77-run partnership.

Khan was run out by a direct hit from Wood after Jadeja, who was then on 99, called him through for a quick single but changed his mind leaving the debutant stranded in the middle when the stumps were dislodged.

Jadeja brought up his fourth Test century at home after flicking a single into the leg-side though his celebrations were understandably subdued after the frenetic mix up.

England took the new ball in the 84th over in an attempt to take a wicket before stumps but India’s nightwatchman Kuldeep Yadav (1no) and Jadeja continued their rhythm with the latter moving past 3000 runs in Test cricket.

Collingwood praises England's heart

England assistant coach Paul Collingwood, speaking to TNT Sports:

"We got a few early wickets but India fought back. They have some highly skilled batsmen in these conditions.

"Our lads stuck at it all day and we will find out tomorrow if we can get early wickets how good of a day it has been.

"Wood got his rewards, something he doesn't always get. I thought his opening spell was fantastic. He is chuffed to bits with the run out as well!"

Follow over-by-over text commentary from the third Test between India and England, in Rajkot, live on and the Sky Sports App from 3.45am on Friday (first ball at 4am).

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