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England, India draw hard-fought first Test

Press Association logoPress Association 12/11/2016 From David Clough

Alastair Cook's 30th Test hundred helped pile the pressure on as India had to hang on against England's spinners to salvage a draw in the hard-fought series opener in Rajkot.

England made all the running throughout an often attritional contest but after Cook and Haseeb Hameed's opening stand of 180 allowed them to declare on three for 260 to set India a notional 310 to win, there was not quite enough time or deterioration in the pitch to land a knockout blow.

It fell to home captain Virat Kohli to prove the point, after two wickets in nine balls put India in peril on four for 71 with 25 overs remaining, as he finished unbeaten on 49 out of six for 172 to confirm the stalemate.

Cook's five-hour 130 duly demonstrated his well-being; yet it was merely one of several heartening facets to England's opening gambit here.

They included Hameed's second-innings 82, three first-innings hundreds and fine bowling - albeit with scant reward on a largely unforgiving surface - from Chris Woakes and the much-improved Adil Rashid, who finished with seven wickets in the match.

After England left their hosts a minimum 49 overs to bat out, the rearguard was almost immediately minus Gautam Gambhir when Woakes struck with his sixth delivery.

Murali Vijay might have gone when Zafar Ansari dropped a sharp caught-and-bowled chance and Stuart Broad put down an easier opportunity to see off Cheteshwar Pujara in the same bowler's next over, lunging forward at backward point.

Pujara fell soon afterwards to a double misjudgment, first when he was pinned on the back foot by a Rashid variation and secondly failing to review the lbw verdict even though replays demonstrated the ball pitching well outside leg stump.

Then after tea, a wicket each in quick succession for Rashid and then Moeen Ali, sowed brief belief that England could achieve an improbable victory.

Murali was snapped up bat-pad at short leg by Hameed and Ajinkya Rahane bowled off his pads when Moeen located one of the many cracks on the ageing surface, and found alarming turn.

But Kohli made sure that India's fears and England's raised hopes were transitory.

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