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13-Aug-2021 02:56:00 GMT
Eng vs Ind - 2nd Test, The Lord's, day 1

Century maker Rahul leads India charge on opening day

India 276 for 3 (Rahul 127*, Rohit 83) v England

London: A sublime knock from the India opener headlined the action on the opening day of the Lord's Test as India went to stumps on a solid 276/3.

Rahul, who last made a Test hundred in September 2018 against England, ended the long wait as he scored his sixth century in the longest format. He remained unbeaten on 127* while India lost the prized scalp of skipper Virat Kohli for 42 5.2 overs overs before stumps were called.

India dominated the final session for the most part but Kohli's wicket gave England a reason to cheer late in the day.

Earlier, England captain Joe Root won the toss and decided to make the best use of the overhead condition by bowling first. The hosts replaced the duo of Zak Crawley and Dan Lawrence and the injured Stuart Broad with Haseeb Hameed, Moeen Ali and Mark Wood.

Kohli decided to make a like-for-like replacement for Shardul Takhur, opting to bring in Ishant Sharma over Ravichandran Ashwin.

It was a great contest between the bat and ball in the opening hour of play. Though James Anderson and Ollie Robinson managed to beat the bat on a few occasions, the India openers looked assured in their defence more often than not and were more than happy to leave balls outside off stump.

After going for just above one run an over for the first 12 over, Rohit decided to shift gears, bringing up the first boundary of the innings and then hitting Sam Curran for four fours in an over at the stroke of drinks.

The first session lasted just under 19 overs as umpires were forced to call early lunch after rain halted play.

After the break, Rohit finally brought up a well-composed half-century, his seventh away from home, after a string of scores in the 30s and 40s. At the other end, Rahul curbed his natural game to play an uncharacteristic yet solid innings to ensure that the misfiring middle order did not have to face the music in difficult conditions.

The duo soon brought up their 100-run partnership after falling three runs short in the first innings of the last match. This was also India's first century partnership in England in Tests since Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik's 147-run stand in 2007 at Nottingham.

Just when it looked like Rohit Sharma was set to score his first century in Test cricket away from home, a peach of in-swinger from Anderson castled the Indian opener for 83.

Cheteshwar Pujara's rut with the bat continued as Anderson struck once again to dismiss him for 9. Pujara's habit of poking at balls outside off stump became his undoing yet again as he nicked one to Jonny Bairstow at third slip, bringing captain Kohli to the crease.

Rahul continued his fine form with the bat by bringing up his second fifty on tour. The two batsmen managed to see through the tricky two overs before tea as India went into the break at 157/2.

After being dismissed for a golden duck in the previous Test, Kohli got off the mark on the 10th ball he faced, off Robinson. He batted with caution and demonstrated his appetite for runs after a shaky start to the series.

Rahul too continued to milk runs as Kohli found his rhythm, and together they made sure that India finished the opening day on top with a strong total already on board, thanks to their solid 117-run stand. However, the India captain was unable to make it to stumps, Before the end of play, edging Robinson to the cordon in the final hal four.

A few overs later, Ajinkya Rahane, in at No.5, survived an lbw appeal, as England lost their second review. He faced 22 balls and remained unbeaten on 1.

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