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Home Fantasy Cricket India vs England, 1st Test: Talking points from Day 2

India vs England, 1st Test: Talking points from Day 2

The much awaited India vs England Test series got underway on August 4 in Nottingham. India put up an impressive bowling show on Day 1 after England skipper Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat first. The hosts were dismantled for only 183 runs in the first innings with the Indian pacers making the most of the swing on offer at Trent Bridge. India dropped Ravichandran Ashwin, and picked four pacers – Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj.

While Shami and Bumrah shared seven wickets between them, Thakur picked up two more important wickets. The pace attack ensured that no England batter except Root (64) scored more than 30 runs. India took the last seven England wickets for 45 runs, after which Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul walked in to bat and shared an unbroken partnership of 21 runs in 13 overs before the day’s play came to an end.

On a rain-interrupted Day 2, early stumps had to be taken after only 33.4 overs of play were possible. The Indian batters were impressive in the first two sessions and looked in a strong position, but a sudden collapse saw India being four down by stumps.

Cheteshwar Pujara (4), Virat Kohli (0) and Ajinkya Rahane (5) fell cheaply as James Anderson once proved why he is one of the best red-ball bowlers in the world. After going for lunch at 97 for 1, India were reduced to 125 – 4 when early tea was taken due to rain. India are still 58 runs behind England’s first innings score of 183, with KL Rahul batting on 57 and Rishabh Pant on 7.

Let us take a look at the talking points from Day 2 of the first Test between England and India.

A KL Rahul Classic

Due to injuries to Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul got the opportunity to make a comeback in Test cricket after almost two long years, and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands, smashing a fine half-century and finishing the day unbeaten on 57. The recall came after a hundred that Rahul scored in the three-day first-class match against Select County XI before the start of the series.

“I’m just enjoying my game. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve learnt from them. I get stronger. Like I said this is a good opportunity again, hopefully fingers crossed I can do the job for the team,” Rahul told BCCI TV ahead of the first Test.

On Day 2, the opener added 48 runs to his overnight score of nine. He would now be eyeing a second century as an opener in England against England, after scoring the first one in 2018.

Before this series, Rahul last played a Test match two years ago, in 2019 when India toured the West Indies, where he managed 44, 38, 13 and six in four innings. In the 2018-19 season, he played 15 Tests, in which he averaged 22. Soon later, the Karnataka batsman was replaced by Mayank Agarwal who became a regular in India’s Test XI.

In all, Rahul, since making his debut in 2014, has played 36 Test matches (before the ongoing game against England), in which he has accumulated 2006 runs at an average of 34.58 including five centuries and 11 fifties.

India’s familiar collapse

This was not the first time when India dug their own graves after being in a commanding position. India, at 97 – 1, were in a good position when lunch break was taken. In fact, the 97-run opening stand between Sharma and Rahul is now the second-highest opening partnership for India in Tests in England since 1980.

But 30 minutes into the post-lunch session, India lost their way as Anderson changed the course of the game.

Anderson dismissed Pujara for four and Kohli for a golden duck, after which Rahane was run-out for five runs. The three together faced only 22 balls.

The battle between Kohli and Anderson was a much awaited one.  In 2014, the England quick dismissed the Indian skipper four times in the series. In 2018, Kohli showed his batting genius, scoring 593 runs in five Tests and not losing his wicket to Anderson in any of the innings. But in 2021, Kohli nicked Anderson to Jos Buttler for a duck, thus continuing the drought of scoring no international hundreds since November 2019. His last international century came against Bangladesh in India on 23rd November 2019.

This is also Kohli’s ninth duck as a Test captain, four of which have come against England. In all, this is his 29th international duck.

“Really excited for the face-off and challenge against one of the best in the world and I don’t mind if I take his wicket or somebody else does,” Anderson had said of Kohli ahead of the first Test.

From 97 – 1, India were reduced to 112 – 4. Rahul is currently on the crease with Pant, of whom India will be expecting some crucial runs on Day 3.

James Anderson rescues England

Making the most of the pitch and weather conditions in Nottingham, Anderson dismissed Kohli and Pujara in successive deliveries, which changed the course of the game completely. Interesting, he is now also the first bowler to get Kohli out for a duck twice in international cricket. The veteran bowler, who consistently bowled in the speed of 130s during his spell, was seen crossing the 140kmph mark too in a few deliveries and he didn’t concede a single boundary all day. With Kohli’s wicket, Anderson also levelled with Anil Kumble as the third-highest wicket-taker in Tests. Both of them now have 619 wickets each.

Come Day 3, India will bank upon a long partnership to make a comeback into the game and a century from their makeshift opener Rahul.

Umaima Saeed
A writer who primarily writes on cricket. As of 2021, she has covered cricket for more than a dozen publications.

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