When England left Trent Bridge last Sunday, they could at least console themselves with the great unknown of a devastated last day. However, a strong dose of reality followed at Lord’s, with India dominating the opening exchanges of this second Test thanks to a sublime undefeated century from KL Rahul.
When the two sides left the field at 7.21pm, the tourists had progressed to 276 for three of 90 overs and Rahul was indelibly 127 not out of 248 balls. Ollie Robinson hit late to knock out Virat Kohli by 42, while Jimmy Anderson had shrugged off fitness concerns to hand over two wickets. But this was not the vision of Joe Root when he won the drawing under a leaden sky and chose to go bowling.
Perhaps their team’s recent shortcomings with the bat influenced the call-up, and in that sense, they at least attended another lesson this summer. It started with Rohit Sharma dominating with 83 of 145 balls and the 34-year-old looked like a man looking to address the final gap in an otherwise exemplary format CV. Rahul on the other end just hit wonderfully all day, this is his fifth century on road six.
The depth of India is remarkable. Rahul did not participate in the conquest of Australia this year due to injury and opens here after the injuries of Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal. India may have stumbled upon the ideal contrast for Sharma in the long run, yet the right-hander impressively etched his name on an honors board that curiously eluded both Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar.
It was no small feat considering the start of the day, when Kohli lost the draw for the eighth time in eight rounds on English soil. Lord’s has two fancy new stalls, but it was hard not to remember the matching accessory three years ago, when tourists were inserted into similar conditions and completely collapsed to 107.
Stuart Broad may have been ruled out of the series with a torn calf muscle, but Anderson, the architect of that day in 2018, passed a belated fitness test amid concerns about a tight thigh. With a dark Dukes ball pulled from the area and England having asked outfielder Karl McDermott for a tint of green on the field, conditions were no different for a possible replay.
These are different times and this side of India has hit the series with immense purpose, while its hosts seem to rustle. In addition to Mark Wood replacing Broad, two more changes – Moeen Ali replacing Dan Lawrence for balance, and Haseeb Hameed returning to lift Zak Crawley out of his misery – underscored the whirlwind the England team has been sucked into. this summer.
And over the course of three sessions, initially delayed by rain and with a lunch that was unnecessarily extended to an hour due to a mere pinch, Kohli’s men flexed this collective muscle. With the first sold-out test crowd at Lord’s since 2019, the return of the hearty buzz came and it broke into applause of appreciation overall.
Rahul and Sharma laid the groundwork to improve on the 97 that they hit the board at Trent Bridge and created the highest opening grandstand next to a side that was asked to hit first in the cricket house. Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook had held the record, 114 against South Africa in 2008, and these two right-handers went 12 runs further.
While both were determined on defense, stillness personified and so correct through technique, this too was a modern account of the tortoise and the hare. Rahul was happy to attack, hitting his first limit with his 108 ball when he threw Moeen for six to the ground, while after an attentive start, Sharma began to punish anything loose.
The bat was hit from time to time and the odd inside edge drew gasps from onlookers, but over the course of their 44-plus alliance, none of the starters offered a genuine opportunity. Anderson investigated, Robinson offered a lot in his first back-to-back test experience, but the supporting pairing of Sam Curran and Wood struggled to keep up a lot of pressure despite the latter’s impressive speeds.
Indeed, Sharma took a particular liking to Curran, choosing four limits in one during his first spell before lunch, while Wood was unfazed when Wood hit 95.7 mph with the speed pistol, judging by the first six of the day. they stopped for a long time. leg as if it were swatting an annoying fly. Moeen had nothing to work with, but it was neat.
The perspiration was uninspired on a slow surface until Anderson returned during the second half of the second session and Root got the breakthrough he so desperately craved. Sharma fell 17 runs of his first century out of India when England’s attacking leader finally found a way to overcome his thick bat.
This was the classic Anderson, hitting the outer edge with a swing before follow-up, a swinging seam delivery, down the slope and clipped off the stump. When the uncertain Cheteshwar Pujara came and went for nine, offering practice catching Jonny Bairstow on the third slide when Anderson found the edge, suddenly Lord’s sat up.
Kohli had reached the fold yet to go off the mark in the series after his first ball against Anderson in Nottingham. But even though Robinson overcame his outside lead a couple of times, Rahul soaked up all the pressure at the end of Anderson, advancing into his second half-century of the series and guiding India to tea with 152 out of two.
After this brief flurry, the evening session began with a return to the theme of running the day, albeit with the clouds giving way to sunlight, as Kohli and Rahul suffered a fit of exhaustion that clung to a man of 39 years for 117 years. careers. Rahul’s century came from 212 dances and, like Devon Conway here in June, he celebrated as an unsatisfied hitter. Kohli, eerily, now has time in between.
One-way traffic was resumed as Robinson eliminated Kohli with the second new ball, closing in on Root on the slide, feeling a footnote. At this stage, Rahul was driving the last of his 12 fours wonderfully and with Ajinkya Rahane again in the fold, followed by the bullies in Rishabh Pant and Ravi Jadeja, England already need ground to fall.
"खाना विशेषज्ञ। जोम्बी प्रेमी। अति कफी अधिवक्ता। बियर ट्रेलब्लाजर। अप्रिय यात्रा फ्यान।"