Opener Rohit Sharma scored his seventh Test century and Ajinkya Rahane made 67 to put India in the driving seat as they finished Day 1 of the second Test at 300 for six wickets at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.
At the end of the day’s play Rishabh Pant was batting at 33 and debutant Axar Patel was at five. Earlier, Rohit and Rahane had put on a partnership of 162 runs for the fourth wicket to keep India at a dominating position.
Rohit’s century came after eight Test innings and courtesy of it, India have gone ahead on the opening day of the second Test of the four-match series.
The right-handed batsman, on way to his seventh Test ton, was under pressure to perform. However, he brushed off everything and adopted an aggressive approach on a rank turner.
The 33-year-old Mumbaikar took 130 deliveries for his century, lacing it with 14 fours and two sixes.
Later in the day, Pant (56 balls, 5x4s, 1×6) put up a 35-run stand with R. Ashwin (13). Axar has so far played seven balls so far and hit one boundary.
India, who lost three wickets in the first session, didn’t lose any in the second session and both Sharma and Rahane handled the England bowlers with ease.
On a pitch that aided turn early on, England introduced left-arm spinner Jack Leach as early as the eighth over of the match. Sharma, however, looked in control and put India in the driver’s seat before a couple of wickets late in the first session gave Joe Root’s team some relief.
India had lost Shubman Gill early with the team still to open its account. But then Sharma and No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara (21) shared an 85-run partnership for the second wicket to help India move into a commanding position. The partnership was dominated by Sharma as he unleashed his strokes.
However, just as they looked like they were taking the game away from England, the spinners got into action. Leach got rid of Pujara having him caught at slip by Ben Stokes.
Soon after, off-spinner Moeen Ali, who was proving expensive, spun one back in through the gap between Kohli’s bat and pad to dismiss him for a duck and reduce India to 86 for three.
India had won the toss and elected to bat. The hosts made three changes in the XI that lost the first Test by 227 runs in the four-Test series. They rested pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah and brought in Mohammed Siraj. Left-arm spinner Patel and Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav replaced left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem and off-spinner Washington Sundar, respectively.
For England, pace bowler Stuart Broad came in for James Anderson, Olly Stone replaced the injured Jofra Archer and picked the wicket of Gill. Off-spinning all-rounder Ali replaced Dom Bess while Ben Foakes replaced Jos Buttler who has gone back to England.
Brief scores (Day 1): India 300/6 wkts in 88 overs (Rohit Sharma 161, Ajinkya Rahane 67, Rishabh Pant 33 batting; Axar Patel 5 batting, Jack Leach 2/78, Moeen Ali 2/95)
With agency inputs