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PICS: Rahul's century hoists India on Day 1 at Lord's

Last updated on: August 13, 2021 00:40 IST
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Images from Day 1 in the second Test between England and India, at Lord's, on Thursday.

India opener K L Rahul celebrates after completing his century on Day 1 of the second Test against England, at Lord's Cricket Ground, in London, on Thursday.

IMAGE: India opener K L Rahul celebrates after completing his century on Day 1 of the second Test against England, at Lord's Cricket Ground, in London, on Thursday. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

K L Rahul scored one of the most technically accomplished hundreds, after the gifted Rohit Sharma oozed elegance, as India put up a comfortable 276 for 3 against England on the opening day of the second Test, at Lord’s Cricket Ground, on Thursday.

 

Virat Kohli will certainly thank his stars as it turned out to be a good toss to lose on a good batting track and his openers did what was expected of them.

Rohit (83 off 145 balls) led the charge, blending copious amounts of a top-notch defensive game with dollops of grace that set the tone, pushing the English bowlers on the defensive, and then left the stage for Rahul (127 batting off 248 balls) to make it his own.

Virat Kohli bats

IMAGE: Virat Kohli bats on Day 1. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Rahul, whose innings during the first session-and-a-half was about grit quotient, took charge once Rohit left after a 126-run opening stand.

From defending doggedly and scrapping his way to 20 off the first 100-odd deliveries faced, Rahul suddenly gave charge to Moeen Ali, hitting him over long-off for a six and cover-drove James Anderson at the stroke of tea.

England pacer Ollie Robinson celebrates dismissing India captain Virat Kohli.

IMAGE: England pacer Ollie Robinson celebrates dismissing India captain Virat Kohli. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

He never looked in a hurry as he added another 117 runs with skipper Kohli (42 off 103 balls), who also looked like playing himself in before Ollie Robinson got his prized scalp at the fag end of the day with a regulation slip catch.

Rahul has scored five Test hundreds before this but he would certainly cherish this one purely on the basis of how he planned and executed this innings of precision and high calibre.

K L Rahul drives on his way to an unbeaten 127 on Day 1.

IMAGE: K L Rahul drives on his way to an unbeaten 127 on Day 1. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The square drives seemed as if he is still playing in Nottingham and few of England's fastest bowler Mark Wood's (16-1-66-0) deliveries were caressed to the boundary.

The shot that put his name on the prestigious 'Lord's Honours Board' was a back cut off Wood towards third-man to complete the hundred. As if to celebrate his hundred, there was a picturesque cover drive off Robinson and a back-foot punch off Anderson when the second new ball was taken. In all, Rahul hit 12 fours and a six.

However, the story of the day was as much about Rahul as it's about Rohit, who hit 11 boundaries and a six. 

Morning session:

India openers Rohit Sharma, left, and K L Rahul run a quick single as England's Ollie Robinson looks on in the mornng session on Day 1.

IMAGE: India openers Rohit Sharma, left, and K L Rahul run a quick single as England's Ollie Robinson looks on. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Earlier, Rohit Sharma defended for the first hour and then unleashed a flurry of boundaries to take India to 46 for no loss in a rain-affected opening session.

Put in to bat, the Indian opening pair of K L Rahul (10 batting off 46 balls) and Rohit (35 off 66 balls) did well to blunt the English attack during the 18.4 overs of play that was possible during the session.

Rohit Sharma adopted caution in the first hour before going for his shots later

IMAGE: Rohit Sharma adopted caution in the first hour before going for his shots later. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

It was an enticing first hour but the Indian openers displayed impressive technique and, more than anything else, appreciable temperament, to tackle James Anderson and Ollie Robinson's testing new-ball spells.

Anderson bowls two different in-swingers, without any apparent change of wrist position. The first one with a wobbly seam and other with an upright seam and fingers widened which looks to be shaping away but nips back in.

Both Rohit and Rahul battled their minds to leave most of the deliveries on the 'fourth off-stump' channel. Both didn't fiddle much with those incoming deliveries and knew where their off-stump was and covered the swing.

If Rohit left it alone, at times not offering any stroke, Rahul would present a dead bat but keep it close to his body, which ensured that he negated the maximum chance of getting a nick.

K L Rahul has his eyes on the ball as he steals a single

IMAGE: K L Rahul has his eyes on the ball as he steals a single. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The first 10 overs yielded only 11 runs but not for one moment did one feel bored or bogged down.

The first boundary came in the 13th over, bowled by Sam Curran. The moment the left-arm seamer drifted on the pads, Rohit flicked one behind square for the team's first boundary.

Having done all the hard work during that first hour, Rohit understood the urgency to get a move on in the scoreboard and, in Curran's next over, smashed four boundaries.

The first one was a wide over-pitched delivery that he reached and hit it towards backward point and followed that up with a streaky boundary wide of slip cordon.

Then came the best shot of the session, a back-foot punch through covers and then a flick through mid-wicket.

In Curran's next over, he got his sixth boundary to make a cautious start look good enough.

Post-Lunch session:

India opener Rohit Sharma hooks a delivery from England pacer Mark Wood for six on Day 1 of the second Test, at Lord's Cricket Ground, in London, on Thursday.

IMAGE: Rohit Sharma hooks a delivery from England pacer Mark Wood for six. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Rohit Sharma blended caution with aggression en route his highest overseas Test score of 83 as India gained early advantage, reaching 157 for 2 at tea.

Rahul (55 batting off 143 balls) and Rohit negated overcast conditions on a good batting surface during the visiting team's first century opening stand since the tour of 2007.

They added 126 to set up a much-needed foundation for India.

Rohit hit 11 boundaries and a six off 145 balls while Rahul also got a maximum to his name as he scored his second successive half-century. Rahul’s knock had three boundaries.

It needed a magic delivery from veteran James Anderson, who got a 43-over old Dukes ball to jag back viciously and literally cut the batsman into half, ending Rohit's dreams of a maiden Test hundred in a SENA country.

The out-of-form Cheteshwar Pujara (9) was also snuffed out by Anderson (14-4-28-2) before tea, bringing some cheer in the English camp.

Rohit Sharma raises his bat after reaching 50.

IMAGE: Rohit Sharma waves to the dressing room after reaching 50. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The art of defending in bowler-friendly Test match conditions is not something one would have associated with Rohit, even a few years back, but on this England tour he is a man obsessed about doing well in whites in all conditions.

He is ready to shed his ego that any talented batter with such a wide array of strokes would have, and just play the game his team needs him to play.

Rohit Sharma is bowled by James Anderson.

IMAGE: Rohit Sharma is bowled by James Anderson. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

There is something about his defensive game that is breathtakingly beautiful. There are players if they defend, the dressing room starts shivering that there could be demons in the track but when Rohit defends he brings in a sense of calmness.

It was an enticing first hour but the Indian openers displayed impressive technique and, more than anything else, appreciable temperament to tackle Anderson and Ollie Robinson's testing new ball spells.

Robinson wasn't the same bowler in the post-lunch session as he bowled more in-swingers that drifted. Rohit brought up his 50 but the celebrations were muted.

K L Rahul acknowledges the applause from the crowd after completing 50.

IMAGE: K L Rahul acknowledges the applause from the crowd after completing 50. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Mark Wood, the world's fastest pacer, was brought on after lunch but this time Rohit's mistimed pull-shot fetched him a six and 'chinese cut' got him a boundary.

The lofted shot in 2014 off Moeen Ali that didn't beat the mid-on fielder and invited a million criticism was executed perfectly in 2021.

Rohit kept the scoreboard moving and allowed Rahul to take 100-odd balls to reach 20 but confidence is infectious. Rahul, who was unable to get a boundary for more than 100 balls, suddenly stepped out and hit Moeen Ali over long-off for a six.

Once Rohit left the scene, Rahul upped the ante and finished the session with a glowing cover-drive.

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