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PIX: Anderson leads England's fightback on rain-hit day

Last updated on: August 05, 2021 22:26 IST
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Images from Day 2 in the first Test between England and India, at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.

England's players celebrate after James Anderson dismisses Virat Kohli during Day 2 of the first Test against India, at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, on Thursday.

IMAGE: England's players celebrate after James Anderson dismisses Virat Kohli during Day 2 of the first Test against India, at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, on Thursday. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Getty Images

England made inroads into India’s batting line-up with a double strike by James Anderson before rain washed out nearly two sessions as India finished on 125 for 4 at stumps on Day 2 of the first Test, in Nottingham, on Thursday.

 

K L Rahul, drafted in as the opener because of injuries in the squad, was unbeaten on a solid innings of 57 at close, with Rishabh Pant on 7.

Rahul had given India a good start with the bat, putting on 97 runs for the opening wicket with Rohit Sharma, who scored 36, before his dismissal triggered a mini collapse.

Anderson rocked India with the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara (4) and Virat Kohli (0) off successive deliveries, and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane was run-out as India lost four wickets for 15 runs before rain halted England's charge.

Morning session

India's Rohit Sharma and K L Rahul celebrate a boundary during their partnership on Day 2 of the first Test against England, at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, on Thursday.

IMAGE: India's Rohit Sharma and K L Rahul celebrate a boundary during their partnership on Day 2 of the first Test against England, at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, on Thursday. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Earlier in the morning, Rohit Sharma looked solid in defence under overcast skies before indulging in his favourite pull-shot and getting out at the stroke of lunch, as India went into the break on 97 for 1.

The duo did well enough to keep the four-pronged home team attack at bay, but Rohit's attempt to dispatch Ollie Robinson's short ball behind the square leg boundary did not quite work out as he threw it away after doing all the hard work.

Rohit and Rahul are India's 10th opening combination since 2018 but possibly the most effective since Dinesh Karthik and Wasim Jaffer walked in unison during the "Summer of 2007".

The partnership certainly put England on the back-foot, forcing them to put a fielder at deep point to stop the flow of boundaries.

England bowler Stuart Broad reacts after a close call against K L Rahul.

IMAGE: England bowler Stuart Broad reacts after a close call against K L Rahul. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

The two batsmen patiently waited for the loose deliveries and played some delightful drives, keeping the scoreboard ticking. Rahul blended his caution and aggression in equal measure to remain undefeated on 48 off 124 balls, while Rohit scored 36 off 107 balls.

Their game plan was simple: see off the first hour with minimum risks. Rohit, in particular, showed his technical prowess, getting right behind the moving deliveries. He was ready to play the waiting game, something that's not exactly his characteristic, showing how badly he wants to get a significant score in overseas conditions.

But when the opportunity presented itself, he did show Ollie Robinson (1/19 in 11.3 overs) as to why he is rated so highly amongst his peers with a superb bowler's back-drive and when required opened his bat face to glide it between point and gully or flick one off his hips.

Rohit Sharma

IMAGE: Rohit Sharma played the waiting game in the first hour on Day 2 before opening up. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Rahul's inside-out off-drive to an in-swinger from Sam Curran was no less delightful.

Rahul, who came into the match with runs behind his back, was on 11 off his first 60 balls but then hit some exquisite square and cover drives when the ball stopped moving around after 30-over mark.

He understood that he had the game to accelerate and did just that during the last 45 minutes.

They were cautious, but at no point did they lose out on scoring chances as Rohit (six fours) and Rahul (eight fours) shared the spoils. The intent to keep the scoreboard moving was always there with the tap-and-run singles.

Once Sam Curran came in to bowl, the lack of express pace helped them. Both lunged forward with pronounced front-press to beat the off-side cordon.

The desperation was palpable in the home team's bowlers as Robinson wasted a DRS to a non-existent leg before decision.

Post-lunch session:

India, who had lost Rohit Sharma (36) at the stroke of lunch, completely lost the plot in the second session.

As it happens often in England, wickets fell in a heap after the 97-run stand between Rohit and K L Rahul (57 batting off 148) was broken.

KL Rahul waves to the dressing room after completing 50 on Day 2

IMAGE: KL Rahul waves to the dressing room after completing 50 on Day 2. Photograph: Stu Forster/Reuters

Bad light stopped play after around 45 minutes of play before rain intervened  as play was restarted twice but only three balls were bowled.

With dark clouds hovering over a packed Trent Bridge, Anderson did what he does best -- attack the off-stump channel and induce the outside edge. He was able to do that off successive balls, sending back Cheteshwar Pujara (4 off 16) before winning the opening battle against skipper Virat Kohli.

KL Rahul hits out

IMAGE: K L Rahul hit some exquisite square and cover drives. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Getty Images

Pujara never looked comfortable in the middle and on one occasion offered a no shot to a straight delivery from Ollie Robinson, but the DRS saved him.

Anderson eventually had him caught behind, and off the next ball he removed Kohli with a beauty that was pitched up in the off-stump corridor and held its line to take the outside edge.

Ajinkya Rahane's run-out following a mix-up with Rahul over a quick single added to India's mini collapse, leaving the game evenly balanced.  

India would have been in deeper trouble had Dom Sibley not dropped Rahul in the slips off Anderson in the 45th over.

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