NOTTINGHAM, England Finally provided with a platform by their opening batsmen, India’s middle order took advantage against England on Saturday.
Captain Virat Kohli (97) and Ajinkya Rahane (81) put on 159 for the fourth wicket to help India to 307-6 in its first innings at stumps on the first day of the third test.
The groundwork at Trent Bridge was laid by Lokesh Rahul (23) and the recalled Shikhar Dhawan (35), who saw off the new ball with an opening stand of 60.
Although England struck with three wickets before lunch and three more in the evening session, India’s display represented a major improvement from defeats at Edgbaston and Lord’s, which left the tourists trailing 2-0 in the five-match series.
“I think 307 for six is a good score on this wicket,” Rahane said.
“It could have been better (but) our openers played really well up front, and our middle order capitalized.”
Kohli and Rahane’s failure to make centuries left a tinge of regret, but India would have likely accepted this score when Joe Root won the toss and elected to field under cloudy skies in Nottingham.
It looked like being the same story once more for India as the trio of dismissals before lunch appeared to have undone a strong start from Dhawan _ returning in place of Murali Vijay _ and Rahul.
Chris Woakes (3-75) had Dhawan caught at slip, and then removed Rahul leg before wicket in his next over, before Cheteshwar Pujara (14) gifted England his wicket, hooking the last ball before the interval to Rashid at long leg.
Rahane joined Kohli at the crease after lunch and the pair saw off England’s pace attack, which included the wicket-less Ben Stokes, who returned to the team in place of Sam Curran after being found not guilty of affray in a Bristol court.
The duo began to build momentum against a wayward Adil Rashid and both batsmen were in the 50s when India reached 189-3 at tea.
“Credit to India, the ball moved around pretty much all day,” Woakes said. “There was probably a period through the middle when it didn’t do quite as much, when the sun was out, and they capitalized on that.”
With England’s bowling attack on the retreat, it was a batsman who helped them out.
Alastair Cook took a stunning catch low to his left at first slip to remove Rahane, sticking out his hand hopefully and seeing the ball stick to break the partnership.
Meanwhile, Kohli appeared to be cruising toward his second century of the series before the struggling Rashid was brought on to pass a few overs as England waited for the second new ball.
Rashid seemed as surprised as anyone when Kohli edged an attempted drive to Stokes at slip, ending his innings on 97 from 152 balls.
“It’s obviously nice to get one of the best players in the world out, especially caught at slip,” Rashid told Sky Sports.
Kohli’s dismissal brought 20-year-old wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant (22 not out) to the crease on his test debut, who reaffirmed his attacking reputation by getting off the mark with a six straight back over Rashid’s head.
Anderson finally got the reward his bowling deserved _ the 100th Indian wicket of his test career. Pandya, who had already been dropped by Keaton Jennings off Broad’s bowling, edged Anderson to Buttler at second slip, forcing him to depart for 18.