India 125/4 (Rahul 57*, Sharma 36, Anderson 2-15) trail England 183 (Root 64, Bumrah 4-46) by 58 runs.
On a historic day for sports in India when the nation's hockey team beat Germany 5-4 in the Tokyo Olympics to bring a bronze medal home after a long wait, cricket took a backseat and even the raingods acknowledged that fact as day 2 of the India-England Test at Nottingham ended early as bad light stopped play during the 2nd session, post lunch.
Indian openers provide solid foundation
KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma batted brilliantly for their 97 run partnership, providing India with a strong foundation. However, overcast conditions post lunch helped England's lead seamer James Anderson in dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli to pull things back for England.
After the end of play on day 1, India seemed to be comfortably ahead in the game dismissing England for a nominal 183 runs and not losing any wickets in the hour before close of play. Day 2 started off on a strong note for India as the openers went about in their task of consolidating yesterday’s advantage into tangible runs for the first wicket.
Both KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma displayed brilliant application in batting, watching the ball intently with cautious play in the first hour. They batted the first 20 overs for 27 runs with solidity, dimming England’s ambition of taking early wickets and getting back into the game.
The art of defensive batting was at show laced with good technique, fight and a desire to score runs. KL Rahul who played his last Test in the latter half of 2019 seemed to step onto the field with the right temperament and a desire rooted in the understanding of the opportunity given and showing his class and capability.
England pulled back as India slid from 97/0 to 112/4; James Anderson struck twice
The flourishing partnership with runs starting to tick over meant nervous times for England who had failed to take a wicket despite bowling flawlessly, hitting the right lengths and making the batsmen play.
England, changing its tactics with the hope of getting a wicket, went for an in-out field, drawing a false reactive shot from Rohit Sharma off a rare short ball right before lunch.
The beauty of Test cricket lies in its variable quality as was observed yesterday. The bowlers seemed to find more swing between the overs 40-60, in the session post lunch. The dimmed English skies brought on Jimmy Anderson to open the bowling in the second session.
Cheteshwar Pujara who had just stepped onto the field survived a few close calls, before nicking one to the keeper. Anderson got Kohli the ball right after, taking the first point of their much awaited match-up and dismissing the captain for a golden duck. James Anderson had dismissed Virat Kohli 4 times in the 2014 series and on no occasion in 2018, it must be remembered here.
Virat Kolhi’s last 5 Test scores of 0, 62, 27, 0, 0 have been below par to say the least and the openmouthed reaction should also be clubbed with honest requestioning of approach and the evident hastiness on the crease.
Ajinkya Rahane gets run out without reason and rhyme
The nervousness in the camp was evident with Ajinkiya’s anxious run down the pitch resulting in a comfortable run out and digging the team deeper in trouble. India lost 4 wickets in a span of 15 runs getting Rishabh Pant, the last recognised batsmen (as India are playing a batsman short to provide better team balance) on the crease.
Play was later halted after 46.1 overs due to bad light and subsequent showers but Rishabh, with his natural flair for shot-hitting did not quite impress in the 8 balls he faced.
With Rahul at 57*, India will remain hopeful of notching a respectable total
Going into the third day, it remains essential that these two batsmen reconsolidate the innings and surpass the first innings score, which may later prove to be a crucial advantage in the low scoring match-up.
Conditions are expected to be difficult post rain and the narrative put forth during the pre-series press conferences on the importance of lower order batting will be put to test later today.
The forecast going into Day 3, seems dim with only around three hours of expected play. The India vs England first Test is likely to be decided on whether India can restrict the batting collapse, playing smart cricket - assessing game situation and making the right calls on approach to consolidate some sort of lead to put the pressure back onto the fragile English batting lineup. Read More: India vs England Tests - Virat Kohli with 1742 runs at seventh place overall