Twin centuries from Rohit and Jadeja keep India in good stead at the end of Day 1 of the 3rd Test

unnamed   2024 02 19T184310.790
Rohit Sharma stood up and delivered in the time of need on Day 1 of the Rajkot Test

India started the Rajkot Test on the back foot as England took control early in the first session but skipper Rohit Sharma delivered on a day when he was backed for the 2024 ICC T20 World Cup captaincy by BCCI Secretary Jay Shah.

Starting the play on Day 1 of the third test, captain Rohit won the toss and decided to bat first at the Niranjan Shah Stadium and it almost backfired as the hosts lost three wickets inside the first nine overs with the young duo of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill losing their wickets to Mark Wood while the relatively inexperienced Rajat Patidar was sent back to the pavilion by Tom Hartley. 

James Anderson started the proceedings for the visitors and Jaiswal welcomed him with a boundary down the ground on the first ball of the day. After hitting another boundary against the 41-year old, Jaiswal edged a ball from Wood straight to Joe Root in the slip cordon.

After a century in the last match, Gill failed to trouble the scorers and was caught behind by Ben Foakes. Patidar tried to counter-attack with an early boundary but a ball from Hartely stopped on the Madhya Pradesh batter and Ben Duckett completed an easy catch at cover.

Ravindra Jadeja was promoted to No.5 to give Inida a left-right combination in the middle while also shielding the two debutants against the new ball. 

Rohit hit two consecutive boundaries against Hartley in the 13th over helping Jadeja settle in at the other end while he took the charge. On the last ball of the 13th over, Root dropped Rohit and the skipper survived an LBW decision against him with a wise use of the Decision Review System in the next over. 

A misfield from Hartley off his own bowling in the 15th over, saw the ball racing to the fence as Jadeja got his first boundary off the match. Rohit continued the charge against the English spinners and brought up his half-century inside 71 balls to break a duck of eight innings without a fifty in Test cricket. 

Jadeja opened up his arms in the 24th over smashing two boundaries against Root’s bowling forcing Ben Stokes to turn to Rehan Ahmed before the end of the first session. The hosts took Lunch at a score of 93/3.

In the second session, Jadeja batted with more intent and accumulated more runs via boundaries as Sharma ticked along from the other end as the perfect support.

In the 44th over, the all-rounder brought up his half-century and displayed the swordsmanship celebration with the English players looking in frustration as the partnership was entering its 36th over with neither of the two batters getting swayed away by the positive momentum.

On the first ball of the 46th over, Sharma smacked a huge maximum over the long-on region as Root’s success with the ball continued to dwindle away as the series progressed. In the next over, the Indian skipper survived a dead-on LBW call courtesy of his gloves snicking the ball before the red cherry went on to wrap the pads.

The hosts went into the Tea break at a relatively comfortable position of 185/3 as Jadeja was unbeaten at a score of 68 runs off 126 balls while Sharma was nearing his century at a score of 97 runs off 154 balls. The duo played out the first wicketless session of the series as Stokes was left without an answer to the duo’s abilities with the bat in hand.

Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja put on a 200-run partnership before the skipper’s dismissal

In the first over after the Tea break, Rohit reached the three-figure landmark off Ahmed’s bowling and slightly raised his bat to acknowledge the applause from the spectators. In the 63rd over, the Indian skipper smashed a ball to the boundary and brought up the 200-run stand between him and Jadeja.

In the very next over, Wood finally got the breakthrough for England as Rohit chipped a half-measured shot straight to opposing captain Stokes at mid-wicket. Sharma ended his innings with 131 runs off 196 balls with 14 boundaries and 3 maximums which helped the hosts resurrect their innings after a false start in the morning.

Sarfaraz Khan walked in to bat next on the 22-yard strip alongside Jadeja as the duo negated Wood’s threat with the debutant scoring his first runs in Test cricket against the fast bowler.

The Mumbai batter smashed seven boundaries in a short span of time and followed it up with a maximum off Hartley in the 77th over whilst bringing up his half-century in the same over, taking only 48 balls to achieve the feat.

Sarfaraz showed impeccable maturity to tackle the spinning balls on the back foot while stepping out to Anderson which forced Stokes to ask Foakes to come up to the wickets. While Jadeja was nearing a century on his home ground, the nerves were displayed by Khan for running between the wickets after getting a warning from the umpire Joel Wilson for repeatedly running in the middle of the pitch.

When at a score of 99 runs, Jadeja called for a single and then sent Sarfaraz back but the middle-order batter was caught in the middle of nowhere by a fast throw from Wood and sent back to the pavilion after scoring 62 runs off 66 balls which included 9 boundaries and 1 maximum. 

On the very next ball, Jadeja glanced the ball down to deep fine leg and completed his fourth Test century with an easy single. Nightwatchman Kuldeep Yadav and Jadeja saw out the rest of the overs as India closed out the day’s play at a score of 326/5 with Jadeja unbeaten at a score of 110 runs off 212 balls.