LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Ben Stokes made his return just four days after being cleared of affray but it was another England all-rounder Chris Woakes who made early inroads into India’s batting on the opening day of the third test at Trent Bridge on Saturday.
Woakes, centurion and man of the match in England’s second test win at Lord’s, took three wickets after the home side had won the toss and decided to attack the visitors’ brittle top order once again in conditions where the ball jagged around.
Leading 2-0 and seeking to wrap up the five-test series triumph, England, thanks to Woakes, reduced India to 82 for three by lunch in the first test match to be started on a Saturday in England since 1955.
Shikhar Dhawan, restored to the side in place of Murali Vijay, and Lokesh Rahul had started well enough with India’s highest partnership of the entire series — 60 — as England’s pacemen failed to make a breakthrough.
Stokes, back in the starting XI just four days after being found not guilty of affray in a high profile court case, was given a ripple of applause as he came on to bowl but leaked runs in a wicket-free spell.
Woakes was the game-changer again, having Dhawan caught at slip for 35, trapping Rahul lbw for 23 and tempting Cheteshwar Pujara (14) into a hook on the stroke of lunch which went straight into the hands of Adil Rashid on the boundary.
Captain Virat Kohli, at the other end, was doubtless unimpressed as he faced the prospect of having to bail out a sinking ship again with Woakes having taken 3-18 off 6.4 overs.
The tourists also gave a test debut to 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who came in for Dinesh Karthik. (Reporting by Ian Chadband Editing by Christian Radnedge)