India vs England, 2nd Test, Day 1: A masterful knock


India vs England, 2nd Test, Day 1: KL Rahul’s sublime 127 is not out the highlight of the day for India; Rohit makes a classy 83.

India vs England  2nd Test Day 1
India’s KL Rahul gestures to the fans at the end of the game.  (Reuters)

When KL Rahul was selected for the Test team, his place was not guaranteed. Shubhman Gill and Rohit Sharma are facing a new ball and a place in the middle order is not available, at least not immediately.

But before the start of the series, Gill was ruled out by a shin injury. Mayank Agarwal, backup opener, suffered a concussion in the nets and took time off.

In the toughest batting conditions, the opportunity was squandered and Rahul took advantage of the favorable conditions.
He scored 84 in Nottingham in the rain-reduced Test. On Thursday, he took a step forward and scored 127 not out, a mature century after returning to Test cricket two years later.

This confirmed his outstanding long-form innings and his place on the Lord’s Honors Board. After riding on his sixth Test century and Rohit Sharma’s best, India finished the first day of the second Test on 276/3 after being sent off.
1990, Graham Gooch’s triple century at this point when Mohammad Azharuddin opted for fielding. The next four days will tell if the root must have Azar repentance. At the end of the day, Virat Kohli’s scalp gives the England captain some relief.

The dismissal should not be the starting point of the batting master class, but England needs the skill of James Anderson to undo Rohit’s brilliance. Rohit saw a full house Anderson gem to reject the first foreign century.

The Indian opener is in the zone, batting feels like music with the ease of touch. A special delivery was needed to get him out and Anderson came up with it.

Nearly a decade ago, England fast bowler fired Sachin Tendulkar by doing a reverse at Eden Gardens. Circa 2021 and closer to middle age, Anderson impresses Rohit with an inswinger – the ball moves towards the glitter, the seam points towards the first slip. It went through the gate to break the wood of the batsman batting on 83.

In the first Test, Anderson’s inconsistent seam defeated strange Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. The Lords saw serious value addition. Anderson accounted for Pujara with the winger outside the crease, with the batsman playing a little away from his body and pushing towards it.

Going back to Rohit, he was delighted about his discipline, application and skill. He has been exposed as a Test batsman ever since he was promoted to the opener. The defense is tough, he plays close to his body and plays late. Still, he has plenty of time to play his shots. Mark Wood reached 150kph, but Rohit did not bother even on a live pitch. He completely ignored his dismissal from Ollie Robinson at Trent Bridge for a similar delivery and hooked a Wood bumper for a six. Rohit refuses to let go of his ego. Wood of Pull in front of the square at the boundary of the removal.

Shot selection also disappointed him in the first Test against Australia and England. On Thursday, Rohit was virtually flawless.

He was willing to allocate his time and respect the circumstances to get started. Rohit scored eight off his first 46 balls. His next 37 deliveries came in 43rd, taking him to the 13th Test half-century. Once Sam Curran came to bowl, Rohit shifted gear with four boundaries in an over. Anderson’s first spell was read 8-3-11-0 and Curran 5-1-28-0. That day began to lean towards India. The root can be criticized for holding Anderson too long after lunch. Again, there is a deceptive quad to look for an experienced quickie.

Rahul’s batting was a real positive for India in the first two Tests. For a natural stroke player like him, playing an innings with such patience is not so easy. At one stage, he danced down the track and before Moin Ali hit a six on the long-off, Rahul hit 22 off 107 balls. His patience is needed today. Leaving the ball off the stumps is the hallmark of his batting. Rahul played a second Fidel for Rohit and then went into the lead after two quick wickets. Defending Kohli from Anderson before the tea confirmed his maturity. The starting position is now lost to Rahul.

Thanks to Rohit and Rahul, India have registered their first-century opening partnership at Lord’s in 69 years. In 1952, Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy had 106 in their account. Today, Rohit and Rahul added 126. Together they also offset the selection debate – Ishant Sharma on Ravi Ashwin.


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