Images from Day 2 in the first Test between England and India, at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
IMAGE: India’s Rohit Sharma and K L Rahul celebrate a boundary during their partnership on Day 2 of the first Test against England, at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, on Thursday. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters
Rohit Sharma looked solid in defence under overcast skies before indulging in his favourite pull-shot and getting out at the stroke of lunch as India reaching 97 for 1 at the first break on Day 2 of the first Test against England, in Nottingham, on Thursday.
The duo did well enough to keep the four-pronged home team attack at bay, but Rohit’s attempt to dispatch Ollie Robinson’s short ball behind the square leg boundary did not quite work out as he threw it away after doing all the hard work.
Rohit and Rahul are India’s 10th opening combination since 2018 but possibly the most effective since Dinesh Karthik and Wasim Jaffer walked in unison during the “Summer of 2007”.
The partnership certainly put England on the back-foot, forcing them to put a fielder at deep point to stop the flow of boundaries.
IMAGE: England bowler Stuart Broad reacts after a close call against K L Rahul. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images
The two batsmen patiently waited for the loose deliveries and played some delightful drives, keeping the scoreboard ticking. Rahul blended his caution and aggression in equal measure to remain undefeated on 48 off 124 balls, while Rohit scored 36 off 107 balls.
Their game plan was simple: see off the first hour with minimum risks. Rohit, in particular, showed his technical prowess, 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 Ollie Robinson (1/19 in 11.3 overs) as to why he is rated so highly amongst his peers with a superb bowler’s back-drive and when required opened his bat face to glide it between point and gully or flick one off his hips.
IMAGE: Rohit Sharma played the waiting game in the first hour on Day 2 before opening up. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters
Rahul’s inside-out off-drive to an in-swinger from Sam Curran was no less delightful.
Rahul, who came into the match with runs behind his back, 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 did just that during the last 45 minutes.
They were cautious, but at no point did they lose out on scoring chances as Rohit (six fours) and Rahul (eight fours) shared the spoils. The intent to keep the scoreboard moving was always there with the tap-and-run singles.
Once Sam Curran came in to bowl, the lack of express pace helped them. Both lunged forward with pronounced front-press to beat the off-side cordon.
The desperation was palpable in the home team’s bowlers as Robinson wasted a DRS to a non-existent leg before decision.