England vs India: Third Test, Day One - Tourists finally offer some batting support for Virat Kohli

England vs India: Third Test, Day One - Tourists finally offer some batting support for Virat Kohli

India ended the day in the ascendancy on 307-6.

Chris Lincoln

You have to go back to the middle of January to find the last time Virat Kohli didn't complete an innings without one of the top three scores for India. Including One Day Internationals, he has achieved the same feat on nine consecutive occasions throughout July and August.

In a Test series where India had scored more than 200 just once in four innings, Kohli went into the third contest with 240 runs to his name, over a third of India's total as a whole. Kohli's series high score of 149 was over a century more than his closest teammate after Hardik Pandya made 33 not out in the second Test.

This all comes after critics expressed that the Indian legend had to prove himself in England after returning home with an average of 13 back in 2014. Yet another mammoth innings has extended his average in this particular series from 60 to 67 and he has finally received some support from his colleagues.

Dhawan sets the tone before Woakes strikes

Part of Kohli's change in fortunes against the swinging ball has come due to a technical adjustment. Confidence to meet the ball further forward has made it difficult for England's bowlers to dismiss India's premier batsman.

The returning Shikhar Dhawan opted to take the same approach which helped lay the foundations for the tourists. The experienced campaigner took the game to James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes and developed a solid partnership of 60 with KL Rahul. It was only when England's hero of the second Test came into attack that the hosts began to find a foothold.

Chris Woakes continued an impressive run of form as he took three wickets in four overs to halt India's progress as they fell from 60-0 to 82-3, again failing to cope with the swinging ball, as Woakes grabbed the scalps of Dhawan, Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara.

Yet England's success in this series has depended on how soon they could dismiss Kohli without having to worry too much about his colleagues. However, the home fans inside Trent Bridge were about to endure a long and frustrating 40 overs at both ends.



Kohli and Rahane turn the tide

Kohli was joined by Ajinkya Rahane and the pair took control of proceedings with the former playing shots around the wicket and the latter dominating with a series of cuts

After adding 159 and propelling India to 241-4, England finally found a breakthrough after tea when an improved Broad returned to the wicket and Rahane fell for 81 as Alistair Cook held on to a fantastic catch at slip.

Kohli followed 38 runs later, just three short of his century, as he also departed to an edged attempted drive. It was the two controversial inclusions in the England squad who grabbed the vital wicket as Adil Rashid, criticised by his own county for making himself available for the series, tempted the edge that landed in the hands of Stokes who has just been found 'not guilty' after an 11-month affray trial. Stokes and Kohli have history of exchanging verbals but all the noise came from the Indian as he made no secret of his frustrations.

As the tourists passed 300, they looked set to end the day just five wickets down. Yet Anderson finally got his first wicket of the Test as he dismissed Pandya for 18 on the very last ball of the day - a moment that could be crucial to the outcome of the Test.