Rohit Sharma hits superb 161 to leave India on top after day one of second Test against England

Rohit Sharma hits superb 161 to leave India on top after day one of second Test against England

Rohit Sharma scored a sparkling century on a spinning pitch as India closed day one of the second Test on 300-6 against a much-changed England in Chennai.

Rohit (161 from 231 balls) scored a seventh Test century, hit 18 fours and two sixes, and shared a fourth-wicket stand of 162 with Ajinkya Rahane (67) as India – who lost the first Test at the same venue by 227 runs – rallied from 0-1 and 86-3 in front of 15,000 fans at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium.

Rohit and Rahane fell in the final session, shortly after both batsmen benefited from controversial decisions from third umpire Anil Chaudhary.

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Rohit, on 159 at the time, was adjudged to have had a part of his foot behind the line when Ben Foakes whipped off the bails following a delivery from left-arm spinner Jack Leach (2-78), but Leach had his man two overs later, caught by Moeen Ali at deep square leg on the sweep.

Rahane, meanwhile, survived on 66 when Chaudhary failed to detect he had clipped Leach to Ollie Pope at short leg after the ball had first hit his pad – England losing a review before it was later reinstated.

Rahane was dismissed one run later when the recalled Moeen (2-112) – who had earlier cleaned up Virat Kohli through the gate for a duck – bowled him on the sweep, while Joe Root (1-15) had Ravichandran Ashwin (13) caught at short leg by Pope before stumps.

However, Rohit’s hundred, Rahane’s fifty and a cameo from Rishabh Pant (33no off 56) steered India into a decent position on a pitch which is already showing signs of breaking up.

England were comprehensive winners of the first Test but headed into the second game with four alterations – James Anderson rested despite his starring role with the ball on the final day of the series opener.

Stuart Broad replaced Anderson, while Foakes came in as wicketkeeper with Jos Buttler rotated out for the final three Tests of the series.

Olly Stone – playing only his second Test and first since facing Ireland at Lord’s in July 2019 – came in for elbow-injury victim Jofra Archer and Moeen – back in England’s Test side for the first time since the 2019 Ashes opener at Edgbaston – was preferred to fellow spinner Dom Bess.

Stone and Moeen struck at either end of the opening session after Kohli elected to bat – Stone removing Shubman Gill (0) lbw in the second over and Moeen castling a stunned Kohli 15 minutes before the lunch interval.

Rohit attacked after seeing opening partner Gill fall leaving an in-jagger – the 33-year-old racing to a 47-ball half-century and scoring 80 from 78 balls as India headed in for the break on 106-3.

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England would have been pretty happy at lunch, though, with Cheteshwar Pujara (21) having steered Leach to Ben Stokes in the cordon after contributing to an 85-run stand with Rohit and Kohli cleaned up by Moeen after failing to connect with a loose drive.

Kohli finally trudged off, having either initially thought Foakes’ gloves may have removed the bails or just been completely dumbfounded that he had been knocked over fifth ball without scoring.

Root’s men went wicketless in the afternoon, however, in a session in which Rohit completed a 130-ball hundred, having almost spooned Moeen to the man in the leg-side during a nervous spell in the late nineties.

Rohit found a fine ally in Rahane, who bounced back from scores of one and nought in the first Test, as Moeen struggled to match Leach’s consistency and England’s seamers were unable to find the sort of reverse swing so expertly displayed by Anderson on day five of the first Test.

Stone still impressed on his return to the side, though, bowling briskly – including cracking Pujara on the hand in the opening session and Pant on the arm in the final over – and did beat the bat on a few occasions en route to figures of 1-42 from 15 overs.

Rohit was the man of the day, however, leading India’s charge as they made a strong start in their bid to bounce back from their thumping defeat in the series opener, which was their first Test loss at home since Australia trounced them by 33 runs in Pune in 2017.

Rohit slowed down after his rollicking batting in the first session but Pant – who overturned a caught-behind dismissal on 22 off Ali – played typically expressively while he attacked late in the day.

India, like England, rung the changes for the second Test, perhaps surprisingly, resting key paceman Jasprit Bumrah. Mohammed Siraj, who picked up 13 wickets in three Tests during the recent 2-1 series win in Australia, came in for his first Test match on home soil.

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Left-arm spinners Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav also came in – the former for his Test debut having exclusively played white-ball cricket for his country before now – with Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem the other players to make way for the home side.

Siraj, Axar and Kuldeep will get their chance with the ball at some stage – but India will hope that is not for some time and that Pant and Axar (5no) can help the host up towards, and perhaps, beyond 350.

Follow text commentary of day two of the second Test between India and England in Chennai on and the Sky Sports app from 3.50am on Sunday.

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