Cricket

Rahane century leads Indian fight back at Lord's

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Rahane raises his bat after reaching his century (©GettyImages)
Rahane raises his bat after reaching his century (©GettyImages).

England and India both decided to name unchanged sides for the second Test at Lords which meant that Simon Kerrigan would not make his return to the Test side and India again left out their front-line spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

Jimmy Anderson retained his place despite the possibility of a four-match ban hanging over him after being accused of pushing and abusing India's Ravindra Jadeja at Trent Bridge. A charge he strenuously denies.

Both sides were hoping for a more favourable pitch at Lords after the docile and unresponsive Trent Bridge pitch that contributed to a drab first Test draw. The amount of grass left on the wicket at Lord's certainly pointed towards a result pitch favouring the seam bowlers.

England captain Alastair Cook won the crucial toss and elected to bowl first, which was one of the easier decisions he will make during his captaincy reign. He was placing his faith in his bowlers to take advantage of the conditions.

As ever, Anderson delivered in just the third over as his swing and movement brought about the downfall of Shikhar Dhawan, caught by Gary Ballance at slip, with the score on 11. At this stage England could be forgiven for thinking that they could take control of the match in the first session of the match.

However, throughout the morning session England's bowlers were guilty of bowling too short on a pitch that was offering help if bowled in the right areas. As the morning went on India became more confident and England's bowling became more erratic. Liam Plunkett did manage to dismiss the dangerous Murali Vijay (24), again caught at third slip by Ballance, with the score on 48 but this was the only further success of the morning as the Indians headed to lunch on 73-2.

Further pressure had also been heaped on wicket-keeper Matt Prior as he put down two catches in the session, which will no doubt bring more calls for him to be replaced behind the stumps.

England, after winning the toss, would have wanted at least three wickets in the morning but as it were India, given the conditions, had won the first session, especially as star player Virat Kohli was still at the crease. England crucially needed to win the afternoon session.

They began well with Anderson and Prior combining to dismiss Kohli (25), shortly after lunch, leaving India on 86-3. However, the Indian batsmen rallied once again as Ajinkya Rahane joined the very stubborn Cheteshwar Pujara as they tried to foil the English bowlers from making any more inroads into their batting.

This they did until shortly after drinks when Ben Stokes bowled Pujara for 28 leaving India on 113-4. Pujara's innings was very patient lasting 170 minutes and 117 balls before he finally perished. His wicket brought Indian captain MS Dhoni to the crease to a mixed reception from the Lords crowd.

England then took control as firstly Broad had Dhoni caught behind and Moeen Ali trapped Jadeja lbw to leave India on 140-6 at the tea interval with England now in the ascendancy.

The final session of the day saw India, led by a century from Rahane, rally once again. He and Bhuvneshwar Kumar added 90 for the eight wicket before the latter was bowled by Stuart Broad. Anderson then dismissed Rahane shortly after reaching his hundred to leave India on 275-9.

However, England could not bowl them out before the close of play as India ended on 290-9 at stumps.

England will reflect on missed opportunities during a fascinating day one and will hope to grab the last Indian wicket very quickly. After winning the toss England will have wanted to dismiss the visitors for less but will now hope that the pitch flattens out on day two and they can drive home their advantage.

India will not be too unhappy with their position given the conditions they faced.

Topics:
England cricket
India cricket
Cricket
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