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Day 1 of the 2nd Test between England and India: KL Rahul's century puts India on top.

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Friday, 13th August 2021

KL Rahul's composed unbroken century left India well-placed on 276-3 at stumps on the first day of the second Test at Lord's on Thursday, teaching England a lesson on how to bat in difficult circumstances. Rahul was originally outshone by Rohit Sharma, who scored 83 in their 126-run stand, the first century partnership by an international opening duo in an England Test since Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva did it at Lord's in 2016.

Rahul was 127 not out at the end of the day, having batted out the day, despite being patient in defence and showing good judgement in leaving balls outside off stump.

He shared a third-wicket stand of 117 with India captain Virat Kohli.

One ray of hope for England was what the new ball did for Kohli, who was dismissed for 42 before stumps after edging Ollie Robinson to the opposing captain Joe Root at first slip.

After India decided against sending in a nightwatchman, Ajinkya Rahane was left out.

Earlier, Rahul took England to 98 after driving Mark Wood through the covers for four. A late cut boundary off the quick bowler — his ninth four of the innings — helped him to a 212-ball century, which included a six against returned spinner Moeen Ali, one of three changes to England's XI.

Following Rahul's 84 in last week's rain-affected drawn series opener in Nottingham, he scored his sixth century in 38 Tests and third against England.

After Mayank Agarwal was hit in the head while batting in the Trent Bridge nets, Rahul, 29, returned to Test cricket after an almost two-year sabbatical.


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Under cloudy skies and on a green-tinged turf that appeared to favour England's four-man pace assault, Rahul once again exhibited resolute skill.

After winning the toss, Root, the only England batsman to reach fifty at Trent Bridge with innings of 64 and 109, elected to field first.

In the circumstances, he would have hoped for more than three wickets, with England's James Anderson dismissing both Rohit and Cheteshwar Pujara for 2-52 in 20 overs.

There had been concerns that Anderson, England's all-time greatest Test wicket-taker, would be unable to join an England attack that already lacked Stuart Broad, who had been ruled out of the balance of the five-match series with a calf injury.

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Rohit remained cautious against Anderson and Robinson's new ball pair, scoring his first eight runs in 46 balls.

However, he scored 43 runs off his next 37 deliveries, aided by good defence.

Rohit made an 83-ball fifty with eight fours before hooking an 88 mph delivery from Wood, who had been summoned in place of Broad, for six runs.

Rohit was 75 not out as India reached 100, having hammered four fours in one over from left-arm swing bowler Sam Curran, while Rahul was 16 not out

But Rohit's tempo removed the heat off Rahul to score immediately, and although taking 108 balls to get his first boundary on Thursday, a straight six off Moeen was well worth the wait.

After moving a couple of deliveries away from Rohit, Anderson bowled him with a jagged back delivery for his 622nd Test wicket.

To get rid of Rohit, who had a 145-ball innings with 11 fours and a six, it took a high-class delivery.

Anderson then had Pujara edging to Jonny Bairstow at third slip for nine runs, the batsman's lowest score to date.


The News Talkie Bureau



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