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Ashwin strikes as England lose three before lunch

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Cricket - India v England - First Test cricket match - Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot - 9/11/16. India's captain Virat Kohli celebrates the dismissal of England's Haseeb Hameed. REUTERS/Amit Dave
Cricket - India v England - First Test cricket match - Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot - 9/11/16. India's captain Virat Kohli celebrates the dismissal of England's Haseeb Hameed. REUTERS/Amit Dave

By Sudipto Ganguly

RAJKOT, India (Reuters) - Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin struck twice to help India reduce England to 102 for three at lunch after the touring side had opted to bat on the opening day of the five-match series between the sides on Wednesday.

England's batting mainstay Joe Root was unbeaten on 35 at the interval and the tourists will be hoping he can lead a recovery after looking solid against the India attack.

England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first on a Rajkot pitch he saw as a traditional Indian wicket that would assist the slower bowlers as the game progressed.

A nervy Cook lived a charmed life against India's new-ball pace duo of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav when the left-hander was dropped twice in the first two overs behind the wicket.

The opener seemed to have overcome his jittery start and moved to 21 by the end of the first hour's play before he was out leg before to spinner Ravindra Jadeja.

Cook was unfortunate to be given out off an incorrect decision from the umpire with replays showing the ball missing leg stump but his new opening partner Haseeb Hameed offered little assistance by advising against asking for a review.

The Rajkot match marks the first time the Decision Review System (DRS) is being used for a bilateral series in India and England erred a second time when they eventually opted to utilise technology.

The 19-year-old Hameed, who became England's youngest debut opener, wasted one of the two reviews available to his team when he failed to overturn a leg before decision off Ashwin.

Hameed was dropped on 13 in the slips off Yadav but otherwise looked compact in his knock of 31.

Ben Duckett, who opened for England in Bangladesh, was pushed down the order to accommodate Hameed and made a brisk start by hitting Ashwin for three boundaries in four balls.

But India's spearhead gained revenge in his next over when Ajinkya Rahane stooped to complete a smart low catch at slip to send Duckett back to the pavilion and bring the players in for lunch.

India added an extra spinner to their attack with Amit Mishra coming in for batsman Rohit Sharma, who has been ruled out of the series with a thigh injury.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by John O'Brien)


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