After a flat wicket at Nottingham in first Test England bowlers finally got their wish granted as green top welcomed Indian batsmen at Lords. England wanted toss to go their way and it went as India were put to bat first. Both teams fielded unchanged sides from the first Test. Ajinkya Rahane’s classy knock helped India bounce back after middle-order slumped as the visiting end their day on 290-9. In case you missed the action on a fascinating opening day here are five interesting highlights to guide you through what happened at Lords.
Shikhar Dhawan fails once more: After his poor outing in the first Test Shikhar Dhawan could not capitalise on another opportunity as he was the first Indian wicket to fell in the day. James Anderson had the left-hander caught at third slip with his outgoing delivery. As the ball was seaming very much Dhawan never looked comfortable during his 11-ball stay.
Cheteshwar Pujara holds fort: Murali Vijay was second wicket to fell after he got a good start, but it was Cheteshwar Pujara who played a waiting game. Pujara was all focused as he kept leaving the balls outside off-stump throughout his stay, at times frustrating English bowlers where to bowl him. He guided India safely to lunch and denied his wicket but after that Ben Stokes went through his defence which was solid till that. Pujara played 117 balls for his 28 runs.
England takes control: Honestly, England bowlers failed to utilise conditions in their favour as they kept bowling short rather than full, giving Indian batsmen an opening to leave most of the balls. But after lunch they got it corrected and bowled more at wickets, thereby fetching five wickets for just 59 runs. Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Stuart Binny fell in quick succession to leave India reeling at 145-7.
Ajinkya Rahane & Bhuvneshwar Kumar fight back: With wickets falling at other end Bhuvneshwar Kumar supported Ajinkya Rahane, as the duo put on valuable 90 runs for the eighth wicket. Bhuvi once again showed that he is no mug with the bat as he scored 36 runs, second highest in the day before Stuart Broad cleaned him up. In-between this Rahane kept thrashing odd balls to the boundary and brought up his fifty.
Ajinkya Rahane enters Honours Board: India needed one of the primary batsmen to stay and guide them. Rahane was the only batsman to convert a start into ‘big’ innings. With wickets tumbling at one end, he shifted gears to add some quick runs. Rahane was not shy of playing some exquisite shots to notch up his second Test ton and thus got his name inked on Honours Board at Lords. Soon after scoring hundred he was caught by Anderson of his own bowling. Rahane departed with a fine innings of 103 runs under his belt. He was Anderson’s fourth victim and then Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma negotiated last few overs to stay unbeaten.