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England opt to bat in opening India test at Rajkot

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By Sudipto Ganguly

RAJKOT, India (Reuters) - England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and opted to bat in the opening test of the five-match series against India at Rajkot on Wednesday.

Teenager Haseeb Hameed became England's youngest opening batsman to make his debut after the tourists axed Gary Ballance for a lack of runs in the drawn Bangladesh series and moved Ben Duckett down the order.

Stuart Broad was brought back into the side for Steven Finn and will play his 100th test after being rested from the side that lost the second match to Bangladesh in Dhaka.

Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Zafar Ansari are the three spinners in the England team.

"It looks a good cricket wicket. I imagine as the game goes on and with the heat on it, it will dry up," captain Cook said at the toss.

"Obviously there hasn't been a test here but the stats in the state games show the first innings to be crucial.

"I think it will turn later in the game, it looks a traditional India wicket."

India added an extra spinner in the form of Amit Mishra, replacing the injured Rohit Sharma, who has been ruled out of the series with a thigh injury.

Mishra was the only change from the Indian side that beat New Zealand in Indore last month to win the series 3-0.

"Looks like a pretty good wicket. Should be good enough for the batters and the bowlers, whoever does their discipline well," India captain Virat Kohli said. "So looking forward to getting out there for the first session.

"We've been playing some great cricket and England is a side that has done well in India but we don't take any side for granted and this series is no different.

"We will focus on our skills and our plans and look to win as many sessions as possible."

The test match marks the first time the Decision Review System (DRS) will be used in India for a bilateral series.

Teams:

India: Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav

England: Alastair Cook (captain), Haseeb Hameed, Joe Root, Ben Duckett, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Zafar Ansari, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad

(Editing by John O'Brien)


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