India 276/3 (Rahul 127*, Rohit 83, Anderson 2/52) vs England at stumps on Day 1.
Post the abandonment of the first Test, the highly anticipated second game at Lord’s started off with three changes (Haseeb Hameed, Moeen Ali and Mark Wood) for the home side and one from India. The tourists, once again went for four fast bowling options, with Ishant Sharma coming in for an injured Shardul Thakur.
KL Rahul is currently batting on 127* (off 248 deliveries) with two century partnerships alongside Rohit Sharma and subsequently Virat Kohli who themselves scored 83 and 42 runs respectively. James Anderson, who was unsure to feature in the playing 11 due to a sore quad muscle, bowled beautifully at an attacking line and length for his 2/52.
India’s openers involved in third-highest stand at Lord’s
After losing the toss and being asked to bat first on an otherwise seemingly gloomy day in London, India’s opening pair in KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma batted valiantly in the first hour of play, seeing off England’s trumps, James Anderson and a fired-up youngster in Ollie Robinson. They started off very watchfully, playing inside the line and showing solid defensive technique in the first 15 overs.
Post the first change in the bowling attack, Rohit Sharma found flow hitting numerous leg side deliveries for runs. “The game of cricket is about how many runs scored rather than how” but KL Rahul’s, slow defensive start progressing to beautiful timed shots through covers was orthodox Test match batting at its best.
James Anderson snaps Rohit, Pujara
Sticking to tradition, the Dukes ball carried an extra oomph in overs 40-60. Anderson, in his second spell, was able to take Rohit with a ball which nipped back in and Pujara once again faltered adding to his string of low scores ending with 9 off 23.
Jimmy bowled through the day with multiple new-found variations, getting wide of the crease, upright seam deliveries to generate inswing and outswing, almost on demand. KL Rahul, understanding the difficulty, faced the entire last over before tea, shielding Virat and denying England any more wickets.
Fans witness Kohli vs Anderson battle
Post tea held the highly anticipated battle between Virat Kohli and James Anderson, the former previously getting out on a duck in the first Test to his nemesis.
The Indian skipper started off shakily, playing the wider balls outside the off stump, hoping to get bat on ball. The pitch although not easy to start on seemed to pay dividends to batsmen who got in. Luckily for Kohli, Root rotated his bowlers after a short spell by Ansderson, getting Wood and Curran into the attack.
The third and fourth option pace bowlers, struggled to extract as much from the wicket. Wood constantly bowling a bit short while Curran unable to extract bounce/pace from the wicket. KL Rahul and Virat Kohli notched up a 117-run partnership over this period and more importantly playing through the crucial 10 overs before the new ball was due without loss of any wickets.
What lies ahead – Strategy and Forecast
The Indian cricket team who have played solid cricket over the past two years, seem to have stepped up a notch coming into the England tour. After a positive start at Trent Bridge, India have once again shown a strong hand to England. They may have only won 2 of the 18 games they have played at Lord’s but they will look to captalize on their position ensuring no early wickets on day 2 and aim to put up around 400 runs on the board.
The forecast for the further four days in London predicts that the temperatures will hover between 14 to 24 degrees Celsius with a faint chance of showers on Sunday morning which happens to be the fourth day of the Test. The sun is expected to be out for most of the Test and since days 2 and 3 are supposedly the best days for batting, India will do well to stick to the basics and perform with confidence.