Ind v Eng 2nd test: Rahul & Rohit owns the day for India
An opening partnership in England for the ages for India !! Put into bat in perfect bowling conditions, the newest Indian opening pair in Test cricket Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul showed their English counterparts how to bat in swinging conditions as India rattled up 276/3 on a high-quality day of test cricket at Lords.
Going into the test, England expectedly made 3 changes. Haseeb Hameed, Moeen Ali and Mark Wood replaced Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence and an injured Stuart Broad respectively. India replaced injured Shardul with Ishant Sharma as Ashwin stays on the sideline again. How correct was Ashwin’s omission, only time will tell.
England started well with Anderson and Robinson moving the ball around and it required high-quality application from both Rohit and Rahul to counter the threat of swing and seam in cloudy conditions and the occasional rain threat in 1st session. Rohit was off the blocks faster capitalising on some wayward bowling from Sam Curran. He gradually got into his rhythm and started playing glorious shots all around the Lords while showing explemplary technique to play close to his body to nullify any threat of unplayable balls. It looked a high skilled knock from Rohit while Rahul showed loads of patience trying also to play close to his body and avoiding the greed of flashy shots. KL was batting slowly and did not do anything flashy while Rohit was serenely moving towards a possible 100.
He played some sparkling strokes on the way including a pulled six. However, at 83 Rohit was bowled through the gate by Jimmy Anderson coming back for one of his short spells. It was a sharp incutter that did Rohit. He was very unfortunate to miss out on a hundred as he did not deserve anything less than that after his stellar effort. This would have been his first overseas test hundred . His opening stand of 126 with Rahul was priceless.
Pujara came in and struggled and finally edged Anderson to slip tamely for 9. Which will let loose the debate on his spot in the XI again.
However, Rahul was all concentration and self-control. He started to open up once Rohit left and played some glorious drives through the offside & flicks off loose balls. His tight defence, great application and cashing on the loose balls kept India progressing smoothly while Kohli looked sketchy and struggling for rhythm but not throwing it away.
Rahul duly completed his 100 an excellent batting masterclass. While Kohli after scoring a laboured 42 left soon after the new ball was taken. As he sparred at one outside off to be caught by a diving Root off. Robinson to give England some consolation before the day end.
India ended 1st day at 276/3 with Rahul unbeaten on 127 and Rahane on 1.
For England , Robinson looked the best of the bowlers whole Anderson picked up two crucial wickets but it was largely a struggle for Wood and Sam Curran . England has lost the advantage of winning the toss but can still make it count. If they can get some quick wickets early on day 2 while India should look to bat England out of this match.
India 276/3 Rohit Sharma 83, KL Rahul 127* , Virat Kohli 42