Rajkot Test: Rohit, Jadeja lift India after early blows

By BD Naraayannkar
Rajkot, Feb 15 (UNI) Captain Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja centuries lifted India to 326/5 against England on Day 1 of the third Test at Niranjan Shah Stadium here on Thursday.

The duo revived India’s innings with a 204-run partnership for the fourth wicket after the hosts were in a spot of bother at 33/3.

Debutant Sarfaraz Khan grabbed the opportunity and played an impressive knock. He reached his fifty in 48-ball but was runout in his keenness to see Jadeja get to his century.

After opting to bat first, India lost Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill and Rajat Patidar cheaply.

Jaiswal (10), the double centurion at the Visakhapatnam Test, was the first blow India suffered. The Mumbaikar started with a delectable straight drive for a boundary but lost his wicket to Wood when he jabbed at a ball angling away from him.

Wood also dismissed Gill, who scored a century in Visakhapatnam, for a duck, sparking a debate over his poor form. He got a thick edge to an away-going ball to wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.

Left-arm spinner Tom Hartley tasted his first blood after Captain Ben Stokes introduced him inside the first 10 overs.

Hartley bamboozled Rajat Patidar (5) as a ball held in the pitch for long and deceived the Indian batsman, who got a leading edge to the short cover fielder Ben Duckett when he was batting on 5.

The Indian captain however was lucky on a couple of occasions. A snorter from Wood brushed his grill and survived a leg-before shout off Anderson as review detected a thin inside edge. A while after, Joe Root squirted a difficult catch at first slip off Hatley when Rohit was on 27.

Rohit and Jadeja saw through the second session without losing any wickets, helping India to extend the recovery, with their scores at 97 and 68, respectively.

Rohit reached his 11th century in the very first over after Tea as Jadeja pressed for quick runs. But just when the partnership looked dangerous, Wood baited Rohit with a short ball and mistimed a pull-shot into the hands of Ben Stokes at midwicket.

As England sensed to run through India’s innings with two inexperienced batsmen to follow suit, Sarfaraz dashed their hopes with a jaunty half-ton. The debutant was severe against the spinners, sweeping and lofting at will. He scored 62 in a 77-run stand with Jadeja, with the latter nearing a hundred.

Jadeja’s milestone became the nemesis of Sarfaraz while the senior pro tried to steal a single to get to his century, but sent his partner back, costing his wicket. From mid-on, Wood directly hit the stumps, leaving the Indian camp, especially Rohit throwing his camp in sheer anger and frustration.

A ball later Jadeja notched up his century.

Brief Scores: India 326/5 (Rohit Sharma 131, Ravindra Jadeja 110*, Sarfaraz Khan 62; Mark Wood 3-69) vs England.

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