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regular-article-logo Saturday, 22 June 2024

India vs England, 3rd Test Day 1: Spinners waver in job to frustrate hosts 

James Anderson wasn’t deadly, but did maintain the pressure when bowling to In­dia captain Rohit Sharma

Our Correspondent Rajkot Published 16.02.24, 08:21 AM
India's batter Ravindra Jadeja celebrates his century during the third Test cricket match between India and England, at Niranjan Shah Stadium, in Rajkot, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024.

India's batter Ravindra Jadeja celebrates his century during the third Test cricket match between India and England, at Niranjan Shah Stadium, in Rajkot, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. PTI

On a pitch having little assistance for bowlers on the first day, Mark Wood was as good as brilliant in the first hour of play on Thursday.

James Anderson wasn’t deadly, but did maintain the pressure when bowling to In­dia captain Rohit Sharma.

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England thought they had India on the ropes when Wood accounted for both in-form batters Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill, making fair use of the early morning moisture on the surface before Rajat Patidar, in his second Test, played an atrocious shot to gift his wicket to Tom Hartley.

With India reeling at 33/3, England were right on top. However, if Rohit and Jadeja were top class during their double-century partnership, equally disappointing were English spinners Hartley and Rehan Ahmed.

Agreed, the flat conditions made their job tougher. But if not able to take wickets,
the spin duo could at least have kept things tighter in order
to allow Wood and Anderson to keep the pressure on Rohit and Jadeja.

Both Hartley and Rehan fed Rohit, Jadeja and debutant Sarfaraz Khan with several poor deliveries that were all put away. Joe Root, assuming bigger responsibilities with the ball than being just a part-timer, was no good either.

Together, Hartley, Rehan and Root bowled 50 overs and conceded as many as 202 runs, allowing India to post a sizeable total in the first innings after winning the toss.

The visitors, however, don’t wish to be harsh on their spinners, preferring to call it “a hard-fought day”.

“It was a great start from us.

“There was a bit of movement this morning. It seemed a bit cooler. A bit of moisture was there on the surface, so the ball nipped around a bit. Jimmy and Woody were exceptional. But as the ball gets softer, it’s doing less,” Paul Collingwood, England’s assistant coach in Tests, said.

“The spinners toiled away all day with little reward. But when you’ve got quality batters like they have in the Indian team, they’re always going to get a response.”

Talking about Root’s dropped catch that let Rohit off early in the day, Collingwood said: “Nobody ever wants to drop catches, and the beauty about the game is you’ve
got to try to make more opportunities.

“On wickets that aren’t doing too much, you’ve got to take risks to try and create chances. I thought we pushed hard all day.”

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