Images from Day 1 in the second Test between England and India, at Lord’s, on Thursday.
IMAGE: India openers Rohit Sharma, left, and K L Rahul run a quick single as England’s Ollie Robinson looks on Day 1 of the second Test, at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, on Thursday. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Rohit Sharma defended for the first hour and then unleashed a flurry of boundaries to take India to 46 for no loss in a rain-affected opening session on Day 1 of the second Test against England, at Lords, on Thursday.
Put in to bat, the Indian opening pair of K L Rahul (10 batting off 46 balls) and Rohit (35 off 66 balls) did well to blunt the English attack during the 18.4 overs of play that was possible during the session.
The art of defending in bowler-friendly Test match conditions is not something one would have associated with Rohit even a few years back, but in England is a man obsessed about doing well in whites in all conditions.
He is ready to shed his ego that any talented batter with such a wide array of strokes would have, and just play the game his team needs him to.
IMAGE: Rohit Sharma adopted caution in the first hour before going for his shots later. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images
It was an enticing first hour but the Indian openers displayed impressive technique and, more than anything else, appreciable temperament, to tackle James Anderson and Ollie Robinson’s testing new-ball spells.
Anderson bowls two different inswingers, without any apparent change of wrist position. The first one with a wobbly seam and other with an upright seam and fingers widened which looks to be shaping away but nips back in.
Both Rohit and Rahul battled their minds to leave most of the deliveries on the ‘fourth off-stump’ channel. Both didn’t fiddle much with those incoming deliveries and knew where their off-stump was and covered the swing.
If Rohit left it alone, at times not offering any stroke, Rahul would present a dead bat but keep it close to his body, which ensured that he negated the maximum chance of getting a nick.
IMAGE: K L Rahul has his eyes on the ball as he steals a single. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
The first 10 overs yielded only 11 runs but not for one moment did one feel bored or bogged down.
The first boundary came in the 13th over, bowled by Sam Curran. The moment the left-arm seamer drifted on the pads, Rohit flicked one behind square for the team’s first boundary.
Having done all the hard work during that first hour, Rohit understood the urgency to get a move on in the scoreboard and, in Curran’s next over, smashed four boundaries.
The first one was a wide over-pitched delivery that he reached and hit it towards backward point and followed that up with a streaky boundary wide of slip cordon.
Then came the best shot of the session, a back-foot punch through covers and then a flick through mid-wicket.
In Curran’s next over, he got his sixth boundary to make a cautious start look good enough.