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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Rahane's century leads India's fightback on Day 1

Rahane's century leads India's fightback on Day 1

July 18, 2014 00:02 IST

A defiant Ajinkya Rahane hit a superb 103 to pull India out of trouble after a mid-innings collapse on a lively track at Lord's, as the visitors ended the first day's play on a respectable 290 for nine on Day 1 of the second Test in London, on Thursday.

- Scorecard

Picking up the pieces from 145 for seven in the final session, Rahane, notching up his second Test ton in seven matches, stitched up a 90-run eight-wicket partnership with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (36) to rally the visitors in the post-tea session.

Ajinkya RahaneRahane's positive batting helped India smash 150 runs in 35 overs for the loss of three wickets in the post tea session after they had lost four wickets for 67 in the second session.

Rahane, who brought up his century with a boundary off Stuart Broad (2/79), was authoritative in his strokeplay as the number-five batsman hit 15 fours and a six in his 154-ball stay at the crease.

Pace spearhead James Anderson (4/55) led England the charge as the hosts made merry on a seaming track after skipper Alastair Cook won the toss and had no hesitations in bowling first.

Putting the Ravindra Jadeja controversy aside, a determined Anderson became the highest wicket-taker in England, surpassing fast-bowling legend Fred Trueman when he accounted for Shikhar Dhawan (7) in the morning session.

Anderson has has managed to get 233 scalps of his overall 363 wickets on English soil with Trueman (229) and former skipper Ian Botham (226) behind him.

Rahane was Anderson's final scalp of the day after a quick-reflex return catch ended the batsman's exceptional innings on a greenish wicket at Lord's.

Stuart Binny was trapped leg before wicket for nine in the post-tea session as India slipped to 145 for seven before Rahane in the company of Kumar scripted a wonderful turnaround.

The duo started by bringing up the 150-run mark quickly and then was helped by some bad bowling from England in the third session.

Rahane brought up his half-century off 101 balls, with seven fours, before he raised the 50-run partnership for the eighth wicket in the 75th over of the day. An over later they brought up India's 200, something that looked improbable in the post-lunch session following a cluster of wickets.

England took the second new ball and broke the partnership in the 82nd over, with Kumar bowled by Broad (2-79) after his 84-ball stay, laced with seven fours.

Mohammed Shami (14 not out) and Ishant Sharma (12 not out) hung on in the final few overs to frustrate the England bowlers.

Rahane stepped up a gear as the 250-run mark came up in quick time in the 84th over. With just two wickets in hand, Rahane not only started to attack the bowlers but also farmed the strike very well and reached his hundred in the 87th over. But he was dismissed three balls later courtesy of a sharp reflex catch from Anderson on his follow through.

Earlier, India collapsed from 73 for two at lunch to 140 for six at tea, losing four wickets for just 67 runs as Cook's decision to bowl first paid rich dividends.

The slide started immediately after lunch when Anderson got Virat Kohli (25) to nick a sharp out-swinger from good length. The batsman was dropped off the last ball before lunch when keeper Matt Prior put down an edge off Moeen Ali.

Rahane then joined Cheteshwar Pujara and the two pushed India past the 100-run mark in the 37th over of the innings. But the latter didn't last long after that, bowled by a beauty from Ben Stokes (1-40) that
beat his bat and pad to straighten out and hit the middle stump. It was a great spell from the bowler to remove Pujara who scored 28 runs off 117 balls, hitting four fours.

He was dismissed in the 42nd over and within nine overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (1) and Ravindra Jadeja (3) were back in the pavilion as well. Dhoni was caught behind off Broad while Jadeja, who had walked in to boos from the Lord's crowd, was trapped leg before wicket by Ali.

In the morning session, everyone at Lord's was in for a surprise at the start of the day when it was revealed that the pitch curators hadn't shaved the green grass off the pitch. Anderson was fired up after the build-up to this match drew first blood with opener Shikhar Dhawan edging one to Gary Ballance at third slip in the third over of the innings.

In the very next over, England should have had a second wicket but Prior failed to latch on to a dipping edge from Murali Vijay (24) off Broad. The opener was yet to open his account at that instant and then went on to play a patient knock along with Pujara, with the 50-run mark coming up for India in the 22nd over.

The two batsmen added 37 runs for the second wicket, helped with the fact that the English bowlers got a little carried away with the conditions available. Things changed a bit when Liam Plunkett (1-51) and Stokes were brought on. They bowled a more attacking line and made the batsmen play a little more. Vijay tried to play one down the legside but extra bounce meant that it took a leading edge and looped to third slip.

Both sides were unchanged from the first Test in Nottingham that ended in a draw.

Image: Ajinkya Rahane

Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images