Twin half-centuries from Sam Robson and Gary Ballance guided England through a wicketless session on the way to 131 for one at lunch on day three of the first Investec Test at Trent Bridge.

Cloudy conditions, for the first time in this match, raised the possibility of more help for the seam bowlers as England replied to India's 457 all out.

An uneventful morning was just what the hosts needed after a record last-wicket stand for the tourists and then the early loss of captain Alastair Cook the previous evening.

Ballance (59no) and Robson (59no) duly delivered in an unbroken stand of 122.

Much of the first hour-and-a-half was entirely in keeping with the established pace of play in this match on one of the slowest international pitches ever seen in England.

But after 85 minutes of reconnaissance, Ballance suddenly clicked up a gear.

Five of the six boundaries in his half-century, like Robson's off 123 balls, came in the space of just 17 deliveries as he raced from 29 past his 50.

Ballance began by taking a liking to Ishant Sharma, clipping him twice off his hip either side of a square-cut for three fours in five balls.

The introduction of Ravindra Jadeja's left-arm spin brought India's only clear-cut wicket-taking opportunity of the morning, but Robson escaped on 43 when Virat Kohli was unable to hold a sharp chance low down at leg slip.