Ben Stokes and England endure difficult opening day against India as tourists bat well at Trent Bridge

BEN STOKES endured plenty of trials and tribulations on his first day back in Test cricket as India finally showed some skill with the bat.

While Virat Kohli produced another superb innings, Stokes and the rest of England’s attack managed a disappointing six wickets after Joe Root chose to bowl first.

 Ben Stokes was brought back into the England team for the third test against India

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Ben Stokes was brought back into the England team for the third test against India
 England managed to take six wickets on the opening day at Trent Bridge

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England managed to take six wickets on the opening day at Trent Bridge

Stokes was guilty of bowling too many short balls – but that was partly because he was asked to use bully boy tactics against India’s batsmen.

In one two-over spell, every delivery was aimed towards the batsmen’s head and umpire Marais Erasmas eventually signalled a wide as another ball sailed high and not very handsome.

Stokes has certainly been having trouble with bouncers in recent times.

But the Durham all-rounder held the catch at slip which dismissed Kohli as he aimed a drive at leg-spinner Adil Rashid when three runs short of his century.

 Stokes' bowling had its flaws as he failed to take a wicket

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Stokes' bowling had its flaws as he failed to take a wicket
 The all-rounder took the catch of India captain Virat Kohli

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The all-rounder took the catch of India captain Virat Kohli

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The fourth-wicket stand of 159 between Kohli and Ajinkya Rahana provided the substance of India’s total of 307-6 at the close of day one of the Third Test at Trent Bridge.

The touring team have a good chance of getting back into the series after being destroyed at Lord’s and going 2-0 down.

Chris Woakes was England’s most productive bowler with three wickets and Alastair Cook held a wonder catch to remove Rahane and give Stuart Broad a single success on his home ground.

Stokes was included at the expense of Surrey all-rounder Sam Curran, 20, after captain Root was persuaded he is in the necessary mental and physical shape for a five-day Test.

 Stokes was brought in to replace 20-year-old Sam Curran

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Stokes was brought in to replace 20-year-old Sam Curran
 He was the only England bowler not to take a wicket on day one

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He was the only England bowler not to take a wicket on day one

We await a definitive verdict on whether it was the correct decision.

Root wanted to get his mate into the action as soon as possible and Stokes was tossed the ball at the start of the tenth over.

Like at the start of all of his spells, Stokes was greeted by polite applause, the odd jeer and a few cheers. But, really, it could have been Woakes or anybody else coming on to bowl. It was nothing like raucous reception afforded to returning heroes.

His first ball was banged in short but lifted off the pitch with considerably less menace than he sometimes shows.

When he dropped short, he was punished by left-hander Shikar Dhawan and his first nine overs produced figures of 9-0-45-0.

Stokes and Dhawan collided in mid-pitch as the batsmen scampered a quick single. A hint of a shoulder charge but it ended with smiles and a hug from Dhawan.

On one occasion, Stokes at cover couldn’t see a drive and protected his head with his arms in a case of self-defence. As it happened, the ball passed about ten yards to his left.

Later, Stokes persuaded Root to call for a review when Rashid went past Hardik Pandya’s outside edge. There was insufficient evidence to change the not out judgement.

Cloud cover and a grassy pitch persuaded Root to bowl first and, when Woakes took all three wickets in the morning session, the decision appeared to be vindicated.

 Chris Woakes was the pick of the England bowlers, taking the first three wickets in the morning session

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Chris Woakes was the pick of the England bowlers, taking the first three wickets in the morning session
 He ended the day with figures of 15-2-75-3

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He ended the day with figures of 15-2-75-3

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But the dry surface offered progressively less nip to the bowlers and Kohli and Rahane took advantage after lunch. It was certainly nothing like the juicy conditions at Lord’s in which James Anderson and Co wreaked havoc in the Second Test.

Dhawan, recalled after being dropped at Lord’s, and K.L.Rahul put on 60 for the first wicket and laid the foundation for what Kohli and Rahane produced later.

Dhawan was held at second slip by Jos Buttler off Woakes and then Rahul was nailed lbw. He was persuaded to review by his partner Cheteshwar Pujara but in vain. The ball would have crashed into leg stump.

Then, in the final over before lunch, the normally prudent Pujara aimed a hook at Woakes – and watched in despair as the ball flew straight to Rashid at long leg.

Kohli and Rahane batted through the afternoon session with few alarms. After tea, Rahane on 57 cut Woakes to backward point where a leaping Anderson parried the ball but could not catch the rebound.

 Kohli berates himself after being caught off the bowling of Adil Rashid three short of his century

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Kohli berates himself after being caught off the bowling of Adil Rashid three short of his century
 It could have been better for England but dropped catches and missed opportunities left Joe Root's side with plenty to do still

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It could have been better for England but dropped catches and missed opportunities left Joe Root's side with plenty to do still

Rahane had scored 81 when Broad found his edge and Cook, perhaps initially thinking wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow might go for the ball, clung onto an instinctive, reaction catch with the left hand.

Little looked more certain than another Kohli century but, on 97, he drove at Rashid and Stokes held the edge at slip. Rashid bowled poorly but he captured the biggest scalp.

Rishabh Pant, a star of the Indian Premier League and brought in for his debut as wicketkeeper, struck his second ball in Test cricket for a straight six off Rashid.

Hardik Pandya on 14 was badly dropped by Keaton Jennings in the slips from a delivery from Broad with the new ball that jumped alarmingly.

The miss was not expensive because Pandya was caught by Buttler for 18 off Anderson from what turned out to be the final ball of the day.

BEN STOKES endured plenty of trials and tribulations on his first day back in Test cricket as India finally showed some skill with the bat.