India vs England 2020-21, 3rd Test (D/N): Rohit's 50 brings host closer to lead at stumps on Day 1
England is battling it out against India in a four-Test series for the Anthony de Mello Trophy. While the series is locked 1-1 after the opening two Tests in Chennai, the second leg in Ahmedabad is off to a strong start for the host. The sides are eyeing the ICC World Test Championship final.
India is certainly in the driver's seat on Day 1 of the third day-night Test against England for the Anthony de Mello Trophy at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. After bundling the visitor out for 112, senior opener Rohit Sharma's half-century has put the host in command at stumps.
Winning the toss, English skipper Joe Root elected to bat first, as he made four changes to the side, owing to England's new rotational policy. Meanwhile, Indian skipper Virat Kohli, too, made a couple of changes, moving in with a spin-heavy side.
Nonetheless, the visitor was off to a shaky start with just a couple of runs on the board, losing opener Dominic Sibley for an unfortunate duck, as pacer Ishant Sharma forced him to edge it to Rohit Sharma at the slips. Just 15 runs later, wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow, too, departed for an ill-fated duck after being trapped leg-before by spinner Axar Patel.
The pair of Crawley and Root contributed to a 47-run stand for the third wicket before the latter was trapped for 17 by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, at 74. It was during this time when Crawley brought up his fourth Test half-century.
However, just six runs later, Crawley had to depart for 53 to Axar, who trapped him leg-before, as the latter toyed with him for a long time. Nevertheless, the pair of all-rounder Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper-batsman Ollie Pope took control for the rest of the session until the tea break.
Resuming post tea, at 81/4, Pope fell in the very first over of the session from Ashwin, as he was bowled for a mere single, while he was eventually followed by Stokes the next over by Axar, for just six, at the same score. The incoming batsmen struggled to build partnerships, as at 93, Jofra Archer was bowled for 11 by Axar, while just five runs later, Jack Leach departed for three to Ashwin after being caught by Cheteshwar Pujata at the slip.
The tailenders could hardly do anything, as at 105, Stuart Broad fell for three as well to Axar, after going for a sweep and the top edge carried it to the hands of Jasprit Bumrah at square leg. In the meantime, the final wicket fell seven runs later, as Axar cleaned up Ben Foakes for 12.
As for India, four bowlers have been utilised so far, with Axar being the most effective. However, Ashwin has been the most economical of all, giving the English batsmen a hard time with his sharp turns.
As India came out to bat, opener Shubman Gill survived a dismissal, as he edged it to Ben Stokes at the slips, off pacer Stuart Broad, while he wasn't even off the mark. Although initially given out, replays suggested that the catch wasn't clean, as the decision was overturned. Nonetheless, the pair of Gill and Rohit Sharma stayed unbeaten until the dinner break.
Resuming at 5/0 post dinner, Rohit and Gill contributed to a 33-run opening stand before the latter departed for just 11 to Jafra Archer, after Crawley caught a top edge at short leg. Just a run later, Cheteshwar Pujara fell for an unfortunate duck to spinner Jack Leach, who trapped him leg-before.
Nonetheless, Rohit and Kohli's pair took control and contributed to a 64-run stand for the third wicket, as Rohit brought up his 12th Test half-century. While England dropped a couple of chances, along with a few close referral calls going against it, Leach managed to get rid of Kohli for 27 after cleaning him up. Rohit and Ajinkya Rahane is currently the unbeaten pair at stumps.
Meanwhile, England has used five bowlers so far, with Archer and Leach the only ones to taste success. On the other hand, seamer James Anderson has been the most economical one so far.
Brief scores: England 81/4 (Crawley 53; Axar 2/30) leads India 99/3 (Rohit 57*; Leach 2/27) by 13 runs.