India vs England, 3rd Test: Lunch report: Chris Woakes snaps India’s promising start at Trent Bridge
Shikhar Dhawan scored 35 in an opening stand of 60. @Getty

At the first drinks break on day one of the Trent Bridge Test, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul punched gloves. It was recognition of a job partly done. It meant that India had lasted the first hour of the third Test without loss, after being put in to bat under cloud cover on a surface on which there was movement. After all that had transpired at Lord’s, this was progress.

Then Chris Woakes removed Dhawan and Rahul in successive overs while ending an opening stand of 60 in 18.4 overs, and in walked Virat Kohli for the start of the 21st over. The ball suddenly started to reverse sharply, and Kohli survived an lbw shout against Stuart Broad. As the last over of the morning session began, it seemed that India at 82/2, had done enough to claim the morning session’s honours. But then Cheteshwar Pujara hooked a short ball from Woakes and found Adil Rashid – who did not bowl, bat or take a catch at Lord’s – at long leg. England were right back in this.

This collapse of three wickets for 22 runs undid all the hard work of the first hour and a half. The pitch didn’t have a whole lot in it, which worked fine for Kohli at the toss, but there was some swing on offer. The key for India was that Dhawan and Rahul survived the testing deliveries, and that there was no left-armer in Sam Curran. This frustrated Broad and James Anderson, who did not bowl full enough to elicit the false shots. They came close, but with luck on Dhawan and Rahul’s side, it was almost India’s morning.

Broad went around the stumps immediately for Dhawan, and produced a few seaming deliveries that the left-hander poked at. No dice. Against Anderson, Dhawan was beaten but also clipped boundaries off the pads and over the slips. Those two fours in the fifth over put India into double-figures, and when Rahul caressed the next ball from Broad into the covers for his first boundary, India’s mood perked up.

Rahul did not get such liberties from Anderson. In one over, he beat Rahul with two different deliveries, one that deliciously moved away and the other that sat up. Again, the length was not full enough to draw the edge.

Dhawan prospered when Broad went too straight, fully aware that there was no fine leg. Smartly, he he shuffled and clipped two fours off the pads. When the ball was a foot outside off stump, Dhawan let it be. When it zoned in on the stumps, he covered the line, jammed the bat down and hurried singles. On other days, Broad would have bowled worse than 4-2-13-0 and picked up a wicket.

The confidence of 18 runs behind him, Dhawan then brought out the cut shot when Ben Stokes was given the ball and it was the shot of the session. Stokes again erred in length and Dhawan crunched four more through extra cover.

Chris Woakes Trent Bridge
Chris Woakes dismissed Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul in successive overs. @Getty

Twenty-nine balls separated Rahul’s first and second boundaries. A fluent drive past extra cover put India past 50, which became 55 when Rahul edged wide of the slips for his third boundary. When Rahul poked at Stokes and edged over the slips, , it welcomed India’s highest opening partnership outside Asia and the West Indies since December 2013.

That was when Woakes struck, producing the edge from Dhawan that went straight to second slip. Then, in his next over, Woakes swung one in sharply to Rahul who was given lbw, only to review it on Pujara’s advice. It proved a wasted review, for replays showed Rahul was struck in front of leg stump.

On the stroke of lunch, Pujara’s uncharacteristic hook shot gave Woakes a third and kicked further life into England.