ENG v IND, 1st Test: Rahul, Anderson excel on rain-curtailed day
On Day Two of the first Test in Nottingham, James Anderson dismisses Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli cheaply to get England back in the contest after a 97-run opening partnership between K. L. Rahul and Rohit Sharma. India is 58 runs behind in the first innings with six wickets in hand.
James Anderson is cock-a-hoop after dismissing Virat Kohli. - GETTY IMAGES
James Anderson got Virat Kohli out for the sixth time in Test matches in a mesmerising spell that left India struggling at 125 for four against England on Day Two of the opening Test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. Only 33 overs were possible on the day due to rain.
The 39-year-old Anderson (13.4-7-15-2) swung it in England's favour with precise deliveries that got rid of Cheteshwar Pujara (4) and Virat Kohli (0) as India fell from 97 for 0 to 112 for four in less than six overs. The in-from K. L. Rahul (57 n.o., 151b) is batting alongside Rishabh Pant (7 n.o.).
HIGHLIGHTS - ENG v IND, 1st TEST, DAY 2
The advantage that India got in the opening session, thanks to Rohit Sharma (36, 107b, 6x4) was neutralised by Anderson's spell and the pressure created seemed also to lead to the run-out of Ajinkya Rahane (5).
Rahul's classy Test match batting would surely be a relief for the Indian team management after the talented Karnataka batsman lost his place in the longest formats due to a prolonged bad patch. He could have also been Anderson's third victim, but was dropped in the slips, a rare mistake by him on the day.
His nine boundaries, mostly drives, were majestic and the control over his own mind while selecting the bad balls under overcast conditions was exemplary.
But Anderson did take the cake on the day as the pacer equalled Anil Kumble's record of 619 scalps. He matched Kumble's record after fooling Kohli once again in the corridor of uncertainty. It was a fuller delivery that Kohli played for the inswinger but it held its line to take a healthy edge into Jos Buttler's gloves. Both Kohli and Anderson would have relived their rivalry in 2014.
A ball before, Anderson got Pujara forward with one that seemed to be shaping into him in the air but deviated away when he pressed forward. Buttler took a low catch after Pujara edged the ball. The delivery could have got any batsman out but Pujara's 16-ball, 17-minute brief stay did indicate that he was under tremendous pressure. He could have been dismissed earlier by Ollie Robinson (15-5-32-1) when he shouldered arms to a straight delivery, but height came to his rescue.
The Rohit, Rahul show
However, the Indian team had one of its best opening stands in recent tours of England before Rohit's now familiar habit of pulling brought about his downfall at the stroke of lunch. The opening duo did well enough to keep the four-pronged home team attack at bay but Rohit's attempt to dispatch Robinson's short ball behind the square-leg boundary didn't pay off.
The partnership certainly put England on the back-foot. Deep point was stationed at times to stop the flow of boundaries.
The opening duo patiently waited for the loose deliveries and played some delightful drives, keeping the scoreboard ticking with Rahul blending caution and aggression to remain undefeated. Their gameplan was simple: to see off the first hour with minimum risks. Rohit, in particular, showed his technical prowess in getting right behind the moving deliveries.
He was ready to play the waiting game, something that's not exactly his characteristic, showing how badly he wants to get a significant score in overseas conditions. But when the opportunity presented itself, he did show Robinson as to why he is rated so highly among his peers; he played a superb back-drive and when required opened his bat face to glide the ball between point and gully or flicked one off his hips.
Rahul, who came into the match with runs under his belt, was on 11 off his first 60 balls but then hit some exquisite square and cover drives when the ball stopped moving around after 30-over mark. He understood that he had the game to accelerate and he did just that during the last 45 minutes. Once Sam Curran came on to bowl, the lack of express pace helped Rahul and Rohit as both lunged forward with pronounced front-press to beat the off-side cordon.
However, on the third day, he would need to start from scratch after multiple interruptions in play to get a big one.