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2ND TEST, DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS: ROHIT, RAHANE STEER INDIA TO A COMMENDABLE 300-6

Rohit Sharma is back in form and HOW! He alone contributed more than half of his team’s total on Day 1 with a flamboyant 161 off 231 balls to guide India to 300-6 in the second Test at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday. Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, too, hit the purple patch with a gritty 67 off 149 balls.

Rohit, in particular was on the offensive, scoring at a strike rate over 100 for his first 50 runs. He took on Moeen Ali the most, often stepping out to play the big shots. His strike rate against Ali was as high as 94, which only went on to show that Rohit was in no mood to let any spinner dominate him on an otherwise viciously-turning track of Chepauk. His knock was a visual treat for all the cricket enthusiasts, especially the ones who could be physically present at the stadium for the first time since the pandemic.

 

Talking about the turf, there had been already a lot of speculation about the nature of the wicket suggesting there would be turn and bounce from Day 1. Virat Kohli fell for a duck to one such baffling delivery from Ali that turned viciously to clip his middle-and-off stump bails. A visibly perplexed Kohli waited as the Third Umpire confirmed that he was indeed bowled and ball didn't ricochet off wicket-keeper's gloves.

Earlier, electing to bat first, India received a jolt when Shubman Gill was sent back for a nought as he misjudged the line of a delivery from the debutant Olly Stone. Cheteshwar Pujara (21) tried to hang in there and provided some stability along with Rohit, before edging one to the slip off Jack Leach.

Rohit and Rahane’s 162-run partnership brought back life into India’s innings and paved the way for a strong total. Given the condition of the wicket any score over 350 looked to be a daunting one. With Rishabh Pant (33*) and Axar Patel (5*) unbeaten in the middle, India can certainly expect the 50 odd runs to be added to the kitty in the first half of Day 2. Having said that, the more the merrier it is for Team India.

India had made three changes to their starting XI from the first Test. Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel made their way back in place of Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar while Md Siraj came in place of Jasprit Bumrah. On a typically Indian pitch, that’s providing ample support to the spinners, India’s line-up looks firm enough to take on the English batsmen. So, what’s your prediction? Is Team India poised for a dream fightback once more?