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Mark Wood strikes as England take three wickets before lunch

Wood returned as England selected two seamers for the first time in this series.

David Charlesworth
Thursday 15 February 2024 06:25 GMT
England’s captain Ben Stokes, left talks with Mark Wood on the first day of the third match in India (Ajit Solanki, AP)
England’s captain Ben Stokes, left talks with Mark Wood on the first day of the third match in India (Ajit Solanki, AP) (AP)

Mark Wood vindicated his England recall with the wickets of in-form India batters Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill on a lively opening morning of the third Test.

Left out at Visakhapatnam, Wood returned as England selected two seamers for the first time in this series in Rajkot and he took the edges of two batters who had passed three figures last time out.

Wood also sconed Rohit Sharma on the helmet with a spiteful lifter while what was expected to be the flattest pitch so far played against type as Tom Hartley found grip and turn to dismiss Rajat Patidar.

Joe Root spilled a tough chance when Rohit was on 27 while the India captain overturned an lbw verdict off James Anderson three balls later before going to lunch unbeaten on 52 in India’s 93 for three.

Ravindra Jadeja shuffled up the order on his return from injury and restored calm after India lurched from 22 for none to 33 for three after Ben Stokes had called incorrectly at the toss on his 100th Test.

There was initially little to trouble India’s openers as the series, level at 1-1, resumed after a 10-day break. But while Jaiswal made a sparkling double century in Vizag, there is a perception he struggles against express pace and he poked uncertainly to his second delivery off Wood and perished.

Wood was tantalisingly close to Gill’s off-stump in his following over after finding some inward movement. Perhaps spooked by that, India’s number three played inside the line and feathered the next ball through to Ben Foakes on his 31st birthday as Wood collected his second wicket in six balls.

Rajat Patidar was undone by the surface as Hartley’s innocuous delivery in his first over held up before turning sharply and led to a withdrawn cut shot that caught the bat and looped gently to cover.

Rather than expose debutant Sarfaraz Khan, Jadeja moved up one place to partner Rohit, who had looked unflustered at the other end but was hit flush on his grill by the excellent Wood.

He disrupted Hartley’s lengths with a counteroffensive but, seeking a third four in an over, a whip across the line took the edge and flew to Root, who was unable to react quickly enough to the chance.

The umpire’s finger went up when Anderson thudded into Rohit’s pad but the opener was saved by an inside edge on review. Rohit and Jadeja (24 not out) settled from that point on and there were few further alarms in the rest of the session.

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