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Ageless Anderson leads England’s fight back in afternoon session

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By PTI Updated: Aug 05, 2021 11:41 pm
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England players celebrate the run-out of India’s Ajinkya Rahane during the second day of first test cricket match between England and India, at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. (PTI)

Nottingham, Aug 5 (PTI): England made inroads into Indian batting line-up with James Anderson’s double strike as the visitors failed to build on a solid start to be 125 for four in the rain-hit afternoon session on day two of the first Test.

India, who had lost Rohit Sharma (36) at the stroke of lunch, completely lost the plot in the second session.

As it happens often in England, wickets fell in a heap after the 97-run stand between Rohit and K L Rahul (57 batting off 148) was broken. Weather came to India’s rescue as bad light stopped play after around 45 minutes of play before rain forced an early tea break.

With dark clouds hovering over a packed Trent Bridge, Anderson did what he does best — attack the off-stump channel and induce the outside edge. He was able to do that in successive balls, sending back Cheteshwar Pujara (4 off 16) before winning the opening battle against skipper Virat Kohli.

Pujara never looked comfortable in the middle and on one occasion offered a no shot to a straight delivery from Ollie Robinson but the DRS saved him.

Anderson eventually had him caught behind and the very next ball he removed Kohli with a beauty that was pitched up in the off-stump corridor and held its line to take the outside edge.

Ajinkya Rahane’s run out following a mix-up with Rahul over a quick single added to India’s mini collapse, leaving the game evenly balanced.

India would have been in deeper trouble had Dom Sibley not dropped Rahul in the slips of Anderson in the 45th over.

Earlier, Rohit looked solid in defence under overcast skies before indulging in his favourite pull-shot to get out at the stroke of lunch with India reaching 97 for one.

The duo did well enough to keep the four-pronged home team attack at bay but Rohit’s attempt to dispatch Robinson’s short ball behind the square leg boundary didn’t quite work out as he threw it away after doing all the hard work.

The partnership certainly put England on the back-foot with a deep point being stationed at times to stop the flow of boundaries.

They patiently waited for the loose deliveries and played some delightful drives, keeping the scoreboard ticking with Rahul blending his caution and aggression in equal measure to remain undefeated.

Their gameplan was simple and that was to see off the first hour with minimum risks. Rohit, in particular, showed his technical prowess getting right behind the moving deliveries.

He was ready to play the waiting game, something that’s not exactly his characteristic, showing how badly he wants to get a significant score in overseas conditions.

But when the opportunity presented itself, he did show Robinson as to why he is rated so highly amongst his peers with a superb back-drive and when required opened his bat face to glide it between point and gully or flick one off his hips.

Rahul’s inside-out off-drive to an inswinger from Sam Curran was no less delightful.

Rahul, who came into the match with runs behind his back, was on 11 in his first 60 balls but then hit some exquisite square and cover drives when the ball stopped moving around after 30-over mark.

He understood that he had the game to accelerate and did just that during the last 45 minutes.

Once Sam Curran came into bowl, the lack of express pace helped them as both lunged forward with pronounced front-press to beat the off-side cordon.

The desperation was palpable in home team’s bowlers as Robinson wasted a DRS to a non-existent leg before decision.

6092
By PTI Updated: Aug 05, 2021 11:41:49 pm