Rajkot: Captain Rohit Sharma’s resolute unbeaten fifty was India’s balancer against the early blows that England inflicted through pacer Mark Wood as they reached 93 for three at lunch on the first day of the third Test here on Thursday.

Wood (2/26) and left-arm spinner Tom Hartley (1/30) gave England an early upper hand with excellent spells.

But Rohit (52 batting) stood tall in the company of Ravindra Jadeja (24 batting) to steady the ship for India, who lost three quick wickets in the first hour after batting by choice.

India were jolted early by Wood’s express pace and movement off the surface which saw the home team’s best batter in the series Yashasvi Jaiswal (10) walking back without contributing much.

Shubman Gill might have come to this match on the back of a match-winning hundred at Visakhapatnam but Wood had his number here for a naught.

Gill, who was beaten around the off-stump with a nip-backer, pushed a delivery that moved away with hard hands and Ben Foakes completed the easiest of the catches behind the stumps.

Gill’s stay lasted for just nine


India’s woes worsened when No. 4 Rajat Patidar, who too had a few nervous moments against the England pacers, was outdone by a delivery that seemed to have stopped a bit after hitting the deck off spinner Hartley.

Patidar could not control his stroke as he ended up lobbing the ball to Ben Duckett at short cover, and India were at an uncomfortable 33 for 3 inside the first 10 overs.

However, Rohit and Jadeja used all their experience to push England back with a determined unbeaten 56-run stand for the fourth wicket.

But, Rohit, who needed some runs here after below-par outings in the previous matches, had a couple of moments of fortune as well.

Wood pinged on his helmet grill with a snorter, and then he survived a leg-before decision off James Anderson as DRS spotted a thin inside edge.

A few overs later, Joe Root spilled a tough chance at first slip off Hatley when Rohit was on 27.

But at the other end, Jadeja looked composed during his 42-ball innings and both will have more work to do in the second session.

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