2nd Test, Day 1: Ajinkya Rahane`s ton leads Indian fightback against England
London: A defiant Ajinkya Rahane struck a commanding 103 to pull India out of trouble after a mid-innings collapse on a lively Lord`s track, as the visitors ended the first day`s play at 290 for nine in the second Test here on Thursday.
Picking up the pieces from 145 for seven in the final session, Rahane, notching up his second Test ton in 7 matches, stitched up a 90-run eight-wicket partnership with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (36) to give the visitors respect on a day dominated by the England seamers.
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) it was who 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 green-top wicket.
Post-tea, Rahane -- 26 not out -- had continued his partnership with Stuart Binny (9), but the duo couldn`t carry on together for long. They had just 5 runs after the break when he lost his partner to Anderson, trapped LBW. It was then that India experienced their most productive batting stand of the day.
The Bhuvi-Rahane 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 7 fours, and then the 50-run partnership came up 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.
England took the new ball and broke the partnership in the 82nd over, with Kumar bowled by Broad (2-79) after his 84-ball stay, laced with 7 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. Maybe he was afraid of running out of partners, but to his credit, Rahane farmed the strike very well and reached his hundred in the 87th over. Three balls later he was dismissed.
Earlier, India collapsed from 73/2 at lunch to 140/6 at tea, losing 4 wickets for just 67 runs as Cook's decision to bowl first on a very wicket paid rich dividends.
The slide started immediately after lunch when Anderson got Virat Kohli (25 runs, 34 balls, 4 fours) to nick a sharp out-swinger from good length. The batsman had been lucky not to have been dismissed before lunch when keeper Matt Prior had dropped him off the ball of that session.
Rahane had then come out to bat and joined Cheteshwar Pujara and the two pushed India past the 100-run mark in the 37th over of the innings. But the former 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 4 fours.
He was dismissed in the 42nd over and within nine overs, skipper MS 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 plumb LBW to Moeen Ali (1-38).
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 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.