India came back strong after being rattled in the first session. Rohit Sharma brought up a well-deserved century, and Ajinkya Rahane kept him company as India negotiated the period without losing a wicket.
After their spinners feasted in the first session, England didn’t have much to celebrate post-lunch. Apart from a couple of chances falling short of the fielders, the visitors didn’t trouble India much.
Brief scores: India 189/3 (Rohit Sharma 132*, Ajinkya Rahane 36*) against England (Olly Stone 1/25, Jack Leach 1/48) after 54 overs
India started the 2nd session cautiously, with the double-wicket blow still fresh in their minds. Just 6 runs came in the first 5 overs, and Jack Leach bowled some terrific lines to keep India in check. The left-arm spinner used the rough brilliantly, consistently going past the edge of India’s batsmen.
Although the runs dried up initially, India looked in control post-lunch. Both Rahane and Rohit kept the false shots down, continuing to sweep with intent. Once they settled down, the Indian duo found it easier to score off the spinners, bringing up the 50 partnership in good time.
Rohit Sharma hits stunning 100 for India
Rohit Sharma was in a different league on Day 1. While others struggled on the turning wicket, the opener played his shots freely from the start.
He has played with control for most of the day and was rewarded for his efforts with his 7th Test century. Rohit Sharma raised his bat, took in the applause, and went about his job as usual.
Ajinkya Rahane has had his own struggles at home to deal with. But the Indian vice-captain batted brilliantly after coming in at a difficult time. Rahane used his feet to good effect, with his defence being solid too.
Rahane had a heart-in-mouth moment with a jab that fell just short of Dan Lawrence at mid-on. Due a big score, Ajinkya Rahane will want to target a century at a time when India desperately need their middle-order stalwart to step up.
England’s bowlers, apart from Jack Leach, struggled in the second session. There was absolutely nothing in the pitch for the seamers. Both Broad and Stone searched for some movement off the wicket, albeit without any success. Moeen Ali toiled hard, but couldn’t replicate his heroics from the first session as India scored freely off him.
With England’s bowlers tiring, India will look to drive home their advantage in the final session. Both batsmen look set at the crease, and we could expect India to go past 300 if everything goes to plan.
England will have to try something different if they want to break this 100+ partnership. A failure to pick up wickets will not only lead to a significant first-innings deficit but also let India make the best of ideal batting conditions on a deteriorating pitch.