Two heroes for India on day one of the Third Test against England
After a heart breaking innings and 159 run defeat in the previous game of the five-match Test series between India and England, there was immense pressure on the visitors to perform well. The visitors made sure there were no more hiccups and maintained their upper hand against a strong opposition by ending the first day of the third Test on a good note.
By the time the umpires signaled the end of play, India were at an authoritative 307/6 in 87 overs. Skipper Virat Kohli scored a crucial 97 (152 balls, 11 fours) and has so far, been the backbone of the Indian innings. Especially after the openers Dhawan and Rahul failed to convert their starts.
English captain Joe Root won the toss and opted for his side to field first. His decision backfired as Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul gave a steady start to the Indian innings with a 60 run opening stand.
The Indian team were at 60 for no loss when misfortune struck and India lost three back to back wickets to Chris Woakes. His respective victims were Shikhar Dhawan (35 runs from 65 Balls), KL Rahul (23 runs from 53 balls) and Cheteshwar Pujara (14 runs from 31 balls). The score was now 82/3 after 26.2 overs.
That was probably when the Indian skipper decided to take matters into his own hands and he was well supported by Rahane from other end. The next few hours involved a very spirited display from the both batsmen as they started dealing in boundaries as well.
A perfect partner in Ajinkya Rahane, who scored 81 runs from 131 balls helped, as the both of them staged a commendable rescue effort, which went on till the team score reached 241. In the 159 run stand, It was difficult to judge who was more pro-active with the willow, as Kohli and Rahane showed great verve to mobilize the scoreboard. Both of them also completed their individual fifties in the process.
After Rahane and Kohli departed, Hardik Pandya (18 runs, 58 balls, 4 fours) and Rishabh Pant (22 not out, 32 balls) needed to see out another tough period of play when England took the second new ball and nearly made it through, before Pandya was undone by an Anderson jaffa.
Pant got a bat on his first day of Test cricket, and announced himself with a six off his second ball. He looked good against two probing predators in Broad and Anderson and exhibited compact technique against the new ball.
The maturity he showed while facing the ball was far beyond his age, as the duo carried India beyond the day's finish line without further damage. The side has accumulated a healthy 307 runs, which will give the hosts much hope for a possible win in the coming days.
Probably this was first time that England have resorted to the bouncer plan against Virat and Rahane this series. It shows how successful the partnership between them had been. Both are truly the real heroes for the day.