KL Rahul continued his magnificent comeback to Test cricket, notching up his sixth hundred in the longest format of the game as Team India dominated proceedings on Day 1 against England at Lord’s. Put into bat after Virat Kohli lost yet another toss, Team India went to stumps in command at 276 for 3.
KL Rahul carried on from where he left off at Nottingham and batted right through the day, returning unconquered on 127 off 248 balls. He caressed 12 fours and one six during his top-class knock.
The standout feature of KL Rahul’s innings was the classy off-drives he played, looking elegant as ever. However, it was with a cut off Mark Wood through third man for four that KL Rahul brought up three figures.
KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma (83) once again got Team India off to an assured start. The latter finally converted his good form into a substantial knock as he dominated the opening stand of 126. Rohit Sharma’s well-compiled innings featured 11 fours and a six as he occupied the crease for 185 minutes.
He looked set for his first Test hundred away from home when the age-defying James Anderson produced another moment of beauty. After bowling a couple of away deliveries, Anderson nipped one back into Rohit Sharma as the Team India opener was caught off-guard.
The ball sneaked through the batter’s defense and cleaned him up. While he missed out on a hundred, Rohit Sharma did register his highest Test score away from home.
Cheteshwar Pujara’s poor run continued as he nicked one from Anderson outside the off stump to be caught in the slips for 9. Team India skipper Virat Kohli, fresh off a golden duck in Nottingham, looked jittery at the start as he poked outside off stump but was lucky to survive.
Kohli and KL Rahul featured in a century stand for the third wicket but the Indian captain kept flirting with danger. An inside edge off Moeen Ali seemed to brush the stumps without dislodging the bails.
After the new ball was taken, Kohli edged Anderson outside the off stump but the ball fell short of slips. His luck eventually ran out though as another flirt in the corridor of uncertainty cost him his wicket on 42, with a little over five overs to go for Stumps.
KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane (1 not out off 22 balls) ensured there was no further trouble for the visitors.
KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma battled hard in tricky first session
Earlier, rain interrupted the opening session, in which only 18.4 overs were possible. However, under overcast conditions, Team India’s opening pair of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul held fort, playing close to the body and not allowing England to get the early breakthrough.
Rohit Sharma was the more aggressive of the two openers as he creamed Sam Curran for four boundaries in the 15th over. When Lunch was taken early due to another interruption, Rohit was unbeaten on 35 and Rahul on 10.
Rohit Sharma continued to bat fluently in the second session as well. After bringing up a well-compiled fifty, he swung Mark Wood for a maximum. He was looking good to get to three figures before being undone by Anderson’s genius.
At the other end, KL Rahul was content playing second fiddle. On rare occasions, though, he too challenged the bowlers. In the 41st over, the Karnataka batter went down the track and launched Moeen Ali over his head for a maximum.
After Rohit Sharma’s dismissal, Rahul decided to open up a little. He took consecutive fours off Wood, punching one through point and getting a healthy edge off the next.
KL Rahul brought up a well-deserved fifty by guiding Ollie Robinson between second slip and fine gully for three. Hungry for runs, he converted the half-century into a memorable ton to make it Team India’s day from start to finish.