KL Rahul scored his sixth Test century as India responded to being put into bat in challenging conditions at Lord’s by compiling 276-3 on Day 1 of the second test against England on Thursday.
Having seen fellow opener Rohit Sharma (83) just fail to reach three figures, Rahul got there by virtue of a circumspect and gritty knock to put himself on the Honours Board at the home of cricket.
He reached stumps on 127 not out to complete a dominant day for India, which lost captain Virat Kohli for 42 late in the final session. Ajinkya Rahane was unbeaten on 1.
Rahul put on a 126-run partnership with Rohit for the opening wicket and then a stand of 117 with Kohli for the third wicket.
Jimmy Anderson, England’s enduring record wicket taker who declared himself fit after complaining of a tight quadriceps muscle on Wednesday, removed Rohit and Cheteshwar Pujara (9) in quick succession toward the end of the second session and had figures of 2-52 off 20 overs. Ollie Robinson (1-47) got the prized wicket of Kohli on a day the paceman’s nagging line and length troubled India’s batters.
Otherwise, England failed to take advantage of winning the toss and choosing to bowl on a day of changing weather, which saw morning showers delay the start of play by 30 minutes before a mix of sunny and cloudy conditions that proved extremely helpful for the seam bowlers.
Still, Rohit and in particular Rahul negotiated the new ball in impressive fashion and showed good technique and a stomach for the fight.
Rohit, who hit four boundaries off one over by Sam Curran, was on course for his eighth test century when Anderson got one to nip back off the seam and go through the right-handed opener’s gate to hit the top of the stumps. It was the classy Rohit’s highest test score outside India.
Twenty-one balls from Anderson later, Pujara departed when he prodded at an outswinger from the 39-year-old paceman and edged it to Jonny Bairstow at third slip.
Kohli was never completely fluent in his 103-ball innings featuring three fours, and he went hard with a defensive stroke to Robinson, the ball flying to England captain Joe Root at first slip.
By then, Rahul had reached his century — his third against England after 199 at Chennai in 2016 and 149 at The Oval across London in 2018 — with a cut for four through third man. India’s players on the team balcony stood to applaud him and Rahul kissed his helmet.
He has struck 12 fours, mostly through the offside, and a six in 248 balls.
India 1st innings
Rohit Sharma b Anderson 83
KL Rahul (batting) 127
C Pujara c Bairstow b Anderson 9
V Kohli c Root b Robinson 42
A Rahane not out 1
Extras (b8, lb5, nb1) 14
Total (3 wkts, 90 overs) 276
Yet to bat: Rishabh Pant , Ishant Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
Fall of wickets: 1-126 (Sharma), 2-150 (Pujara), 3-267 (Kohli)
Bowling: J Anderson 20-4-52-2, O Robinson 23-7-47-1, S Curran 18-1-58-0, M Wood 16-1-66-0, M Ali 13-1-40-0
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