Nottingham, UK: India captain Virat Kohli fell three runs short of a hundred but had the satisfaction of leading a batting revival on the first day of the third Test against England at Trent Bridge yesterday.
At stumps India were 307 for six after losing the toss.
A day of fluctuating fortunes ended when James Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, struck with the new ball to have Hardik Pandya (18) caught by Jos Buttler at second slip.
That meant Anderson, who prior to this match had 60 Test wickets at Trent Bridge at just 18.95, had become only the second bowler after Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan to take 100 Test wickets against India.
Earlier India, sent into bat at 2-0 down in a five-match series on a ground renowned for aiding swing, were in trouble at 82 for three come lunch. Chris Woakes took all those wickets en route to figures of three for 75 in 20 overs.
But a fourth-wicket partnership of 159 between Kohli (97) and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane (81), that spanned more than 40 overs, revived India.
Unfortunately for India, neither batsman reached three figures with Kohli – who made a superb first Test century in England in the series opener at Edgbaston – dismissed when, driving at an Adil Rashid leg-break, he edged to Ben Stokes at slip.
“I think 307 for six is a good score on this wicket,” Rahane said. “We were looking to put pressure on the opponent but in the end it was a good score.”
Meanwhile Woakes told reporters: “It was an even day overall. When you do win the toss, and go out there and have a bowl, there’s always that added pressure to skittle them early. But credit to India, I thought they played pretty well.”
Much of the pre-match attention had been focused on Stokes, recalled just days after his acquittal on Tuesday by a court on an affray charge that stemmed from a fight outside a Bristol nightclub in September last year.
But until his catch to dismiss Kohli, it had been a frustrating day for Stokes, whose 15 wicketless overs cost 54 runs.
India were well-placed at 60 for none when Woakes took two wickets for one run in nine balls to remove both openers, with Shikhar Dhawan (35) caught at second slip before KL Rahul (23) was lbw. And on the stroke of lunch, Cheteshwar Pujara hooked Woakes, man-of-the-match after scoring a maiden Test century in England’s innings and 159-run win in the second Test at Lord’s last week after replacing Stokes, straight to Rashid at long leg.
But Kohli, who on Friday had urged India “to stand up” was as good as his word, while showing no sign of the back trouble that hampered him at Lord’s as he and Rahane treated an engrossed crowd to a traditional top-order Test partnership.
It was a fitting way for India to honour Ajit Wadekar, whose death aged 77 was announced on Wednesday, as were the black armbands they wore in memory of the first India captain to enjoy a Test series victory in England, back in 1971.
Rahane, dropped on 57 when Anderson could not cling on to what would have been a spectacular catch at backward point, fell when he edged local hero Stuart Broad to first slip, where Alastair Cook held a sharp left-handed chance.