LONDON - Ajinkya Rahane led India’s fight back with a superb hundred after they collapsed on the first day of the second Test against England at Lord’s on Thursday.
India, after losing the toss on a seaming pitch, were in dire straits at 145 for seven. But thanks to Rahane’s 103 — his second century in just his seventh Test — and his eighth-wicket stand of 90 with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, India reached stumps on 290 for nine. James Anderson put the looming possibility of a Test ban behind him with four wickets for 55 runs in 22 overs. But England again failed to press home their advantage, with wicketkeeper Matt Prior enduring another torrid day behind the stumps as he dropped two catches and conceded 17 byes.
It was not as bad for England as seeing Kumar and Mohammed Shami put on 111 for the tenth wicket during last week’s drawn first Test at Trent Bridge, but it was worrying all the same. At stumps, Shami was 14 not out and Ishant Sharma 12 not out. Anderson’s performance was just the response England were looking for after they were stunned by India’s decision to charge him on Tuesday under the International Cricket Council’s code of conduct for an altercation with all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja at Trent Bridge.
Wednesday saw England retaliate with a charge against Jadeja and now both players could be banned from matches during the remainder of this five-Test series. Anderson struck in Thursday’s third over, his second, when a ball that pitched outside leg stump and cut away sharply saw left-hander Shikhar Dhawan caught low down at third slip by Gary Ballance.
Anderson’s 230th Test wicket in England surpassed the record of fast bowling great Fred Trueman. Murali Vijay — who made a hundred at Trent Bridge — was dropped on nought by a diving Prior off Stuart Broad. But he fell for 24 when, aiming legside, he was well caught by Ballance off Liam Plunkett. Then off the last bell before lunch Prior, who has struggled with Achilles and thigh injuries this season, dropped Virat Kohli off part-time off-spinner Moeen Ali.
However, Kohli had only added five runs to his lunch score of 20 when Prior, diving to his right, held an edge off Anderson. Anderson’s 70th Test wicket at Lord’s was a new ground record, topping the 69 taken by Ian Botham. Ben Stokes’s excellent off-cutter then bowled Cheteshwar Pujara for 28.
Before this match, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had spoken of wanting his side to be exposed to typically English conditions after a slow, low, ‘sub-continental’ pitch in Nottingham. But Dhoni couldn’t pass his own ‘exam’ as he fell for one, edging Broad to Prior as the fast-medium bowler took his 250th Test wicket. Jadeja’s perceived role in the Anderson flare-up saw him booed by some spectators as he walked out to bat.
Anderson, though, didn’t get the chance to bowl at Jadeja on Thursday, with Ali — criticised heavily for conceding more than 200 runs at Trent Bridge - having the left-hander lbw for three. Stuart Binny, fresh from 78 on Test debut last week, was then lbw to Anderson for nine. Kumar again played more like a batsman than a tailender. But two overs after England took the new ball he was bowled for 36 by a Broad delivery that kept low.
Rahane though went to 89 by leg-glancing Anderson for four and next ball driving him straight back over his head for six, before a four though covers off the paceman saw him to a 151-ball century. However, Rahane was out soon afterwards when caught and bowled one-handed by Anderson.
INDIA 1ST INNINGS:
M Vijay c Ballance b Plunkett 24
S Dhawan c Ballance b Anderson 7
C Pujara b Stokes 28
V Kohli c Prior b Anderson 25
A Rahane c and b Anderson 103
MS Dhoni c Prior b Broad 1
R Jadeja lbw b Ali 3
S Binny lbw b Anderson 9
B Kumar b Broad 36
M Shami not out 14
I Sharma not out 12
EXTRAS: (b17, lb10, nb1) 28
TOTAL: (9 wkts, 90 overs) 290
FOW: 1-11, 2-48, 3-86, 4-113, 5-123, 6-128, 7-145, 8-235, 9-275
BOWLING: Anderson 22-7-55-4; Broad 22-5-79-2; Plunkett 15-5-51-1; Stokes 17-5-40-1; Ali 14-2-38-1.