London: Opener K.L. Rahul (batting 127) showed enormous amounts of patience and determination as he scored his sixth Test century to help India end Day One of the second Test at Lord’s strongly placed at 276/3. The visitors were put in by England.
Rahul, who buckled down, faced 248 deliveries and hit 12 fours and a six as he shared century stands with fellow opener Rohit Sharma (83) and skipper Virat Kohli (42) to frustrate the English bowling attack which is missing some of the top bowlers like Stuart Broad, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer.
The English team though had the old warhorse and genius of swing and seam, James Anderson, who was the most successful bowler on the day, picking two wickets for 52. Rahul gave him due respect but when there were loose deliveries on offer, he unsheathed his square drives.
In fact, the drives through square on the off and cover got the 29-year-old Indian plenty of runs and boundaries.
Rahul shared 126 runs for the first wicket with Sharma before the latter was bowled by Anderson.
After Cheteshwar Pujara’s dismissal for nine, Rahul added 117 runs with Kohli for the third wicket.
The Karnataka batsman played second fiddle to Sharma, who was the aggressor when the two were at the crease. When Sharma was dismissed for 83, Rahul was on 33 (off 118 balls). However, after two quick wickets, of Sharma and Pujara, he took on the lead role and allowed skipper Kohli to settle in.
Reaching his 13th Test fifty with a glide past the cordon that fetched him three, Rahul opened up immediately after tea with a four through gully off Anderson.
He followed it up with another four off the veteran Englishman through cover-point and then hit Sam Curran, England’s weak link on the day, through cover to move into 70s. He reached his century with a cut for four through third man and became only the third Indian opener to get to a Test hundred at Lord’s.
He became also only the 10th Indian batsman to get a ton at the venue.
England bowlers, who struggled throughout the day, managed to get a breakthrough towards the end when pacer Ollie Robinson forced Kohli to edge to slips for 42.
Ajinkya Rahane, who himself had scored a century at Lord’s, in 2014, was unbeaten on one (off 22 balls).