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Rohit and Rahane
World Test Championship

England fight back with late strikes after Rohit and Rahane's solid show

Ind v Eng, 2nd Test, day one, report

England clawed their way back on day one with late wickets after Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane led India's charge with a solid century partnership.

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India opener Rohit Sharma starred on the opening day of the second Test against England with a sensational 161, in front of the returning home crowd, in Chennai.

His brilliant 231-ball innings was studded with 18 fours and two sixes, and it was the fourth time he crossed the 150-mark in the format. He shared a solid 162-run stand for the fourth wicket with Rahane, who fell shortly after, clean bowled by Moeen Ali for 67.

India looked in control for the most part of the evening session but lost their two set batsmen in the last hour of the day. R Ashwin too fell cheaply late in the final session, for 13, to skipper Joe Root, but Rishabh Pant kept striking from the other end, hitting five fours and a six.

India went to stumps on 300/6, with Pant unbeaten on 33 and debutant Axar Patel keeping him company on 5*.

Earlier, India skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat, this was only the second time he won a toss against England (in Tests) since the Visakhapatnam match in 2016. The hosts got off to a shaky start, losing opener Shubman Gill on just the ninth ball of the day, to Olly Stone, who was making his first appearance since his Test debut in July 2019.

Stone kept bowling beautifully, touching 140kph regularly and kept the India batsmen in check. In the ninth over, Root introduced spin, bringing in Jack Leach. England experimented with both spin and pace in the first session but Rohit and Cheteshwar Pujara looked set for a big partnership.

Rohit, in particular, took the attack to the England bowlers with regular boundaries and brought up his fifty with a four, reaching the mark in just 47 balls. Together the India duo accounted for an 85-run partnership before Leach had Pujara caught for 21.

One brought two as India lost another big wicket in the next over. Moeen snared the prized scalp of Kohli, bowling him out with a classic off-break for nought. However, Rohit and Rahane, in at No.5, batted with caution to take their side to 106/3 at lunch.

The next session belonged to India. Both Rohit and Rahane stitched a solid century stand. En route, Rohit also brought up his seventh Test hundred, his first against England in the format. Together, the pair batted responsibly and kept the scoreboard ticking. They added 83 runs in the afternoon session, lifting their side to 189/3 by the tea break.

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