2nd Test: Pant Takes India to 300/6 at Stumps After Rohit’s 161
Updates from the second Test between India and England in Chennai.
Rohit Sharma drove and pulled with panache on his way to 161 on Day 1 of the second Test against England in Chennai, giving the returning fans a bit to cheer about at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Ajinkya Rahane got into the act with 67 before England fought back with three wickets in the final session.
At Stumps, India were 300/6 with Rishabh Pant unbeaten on 33 and Axar Patel on 5.
After winning the toss, India lost Shubman Gill (0), Cheteshwar Pujara (21) and Virat Kohli (0) in the first session, but recovered well with Rohit and Rahane to go past the the 200-run mark in the 59th over. England broke their partnership in the 73rd over when Jack Leach had Rohit caught in the deep as he looked to clear the ropes.
India’s start to the day wasn’t in the manner as they would have liked as Shubman Gill was dismissed for 0, LBW after not offering a shot to Olly Stone of the third delivery of the second over.
In walked Pujara and along with Rohit Sharma steadied the ship, with the Mumbaikar finding his form in good time.
Rohit scored briskly in the morning session and kept finding the boundaries with relative ease and even brought out his trademark pull shot for the first maximum of the day. Pujara at the other end too played himself in and looked comfortable. Rohit then attacked Jack Leach and swept him for a couple of boundaries to bring up his half century in the 15th over in the morning session.
However, just before the session ended, Leach turned one sharply and Ben Stokes took a good catch at slip to dismiss Pujara, who was looking to work it away, for 21.
A few deliveries later, Kohli went for an expansive drive against Moeen Ali, who also found purchase off the pitch and went through the gates to disturb the woodwork. Kohli was cleaned up for 0 as India were 86/3 and the Chennai crowd silent.
Rohit ensured he kept finding the fence regularly in the last few overs of the session as Rahane blocked out the other end to keep England from getting more success.
In the afternoon, Rohit and Rahane played watchfully to keep England at bay. All the while though they made sure the scoreboard kept moving with a fair few singles and twos.
Rohit, who had a few nervous moments in the nineties, completed a majestic century when he swept the Moeen Ali for a couple to fine leg.
The duo continued with the watchful approach but made sure they pounced on the bad balls as well. Rahane and Rohit ensured India did not lose a wicket in the afternoon and added 83 runs to the total, while putting on a century partnership as well.
After Tea, it was Rahane who started to score more freely in the first hour and completed a well crafted half-century with a single of Moeen Ali in the 60th over.
Of the 68th over, Rohit nudged one from Root round the corner to fine leg to bring up his 150 as India continued to march on towards a big total.
Rohit, who hadn’t been able to score as freely after Tea as he had earlier in the day, survived a contentious stumping call when the third umpire gave him the benefit of the doubt of Leach. Off Leach’s next over, Rohit, looking to go big over midwicket, was caught by Moeen Ali in the deep for 161.
Right after, Rahane too survived a controversial DRS call which made England quite unhappy. Fortunately for the visitors, Rahane (67) could not continue for very much longer after that as he looked to sweep Moeen Ali and saw his woodwork disturbed.
England continued to fight back and struck for a third time in the final session when Joe Root had R Ashwin caught at forward short leg for 13. India were 284/6 with Rishabh Pant and Axar Patel in middle.
Pant and Axar comfortably played out the rest of the evening to keep India in the box seat in the contest.
India have made three changes to their playing XI and handed a debut to Axar Patel. Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav also gets a look in and senior pacer Jasprit Bumrah has been rested and Mohammed Siraj will partner Ishant Sharma.
Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem are the other two players that India have left out for the second Test.
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