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As it happened - England vs India, 2nd Test, Lord's, 1st day

Get your dose of analysis, stats and colour from Lord's on ESPNcricinfo's live blog

Varun Shetty
Varun Shetty
Test number two out of five. Joe Root and Virat Kohli might both be content with where the series stands at the moment; equally, they might both feel like it could've been 1-0. Most importantly, they might both be excited at the forecast for this Lord's Test which is, in theory, a significant improvement on the first. Join us for updates, analysis and colour. All timestamps are local time. Click here for ball-by-ball commentary. Here's our live coverage in Hindi. (Please refresh your page for the latest)

Stumps, Day 1

India 276 for 3 (Rahul 127*, Rohit 83, Rahane 1*) vs England
It rained early on the first day despite a favourable forecast, and India said they had been looking to bowl after Joe Root put them in. By the end of the day, they had an unbeaten centurion in KL Rahul walking off in bright sunshine, having played a part in two century stands, with India looking healthy in all respects - on score, on scoring rate, and on wickets in hand.
That last part was particularly significant after they decided to replace the injured Shardul Thakur with Ishant Sharma, effectively cutting their batting down to six specialists alongside Ravindra Jadeja. It was a bold move on many fronts, especially if they believed the dank conditions in the morning were more suited to their bowlers; it was either a show of faith or calculated pressure heaped on the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, who have struggled for form lately.
Whatever it was, it needed the openers to click, and click they did. Rahul and Rohit Sharma put up India's first century partnership outside Asia for the opening wicket since 2010, 126, to set the tone on what turned out to be a glorious day for batting.
Full report to follow

A hundred for KL

"Yes!" he calls calmly after slashing this to the point boundary. It's all calm in the celebration too. Rahul, and many many people who are at all interested in Indian cricket, have waited a long, long time for this. Here's a man who once had half-centuries seven Tests in a row. Rose through the ranks being compared to Rahul Dravid for his solidity and watertight technique; somewhere along the way, over the last few years, he seemed to have had an identity crisis. He became a bona fide giant in limited-overs cricket in that time, but fiddled with stance and approach seemingly endlessly in red-ball cricket during that time. Lost his place to one of his best friends, Mayank Agarwal, came on this tour a possible middle-order batter, and then got a shot at the opener's slot again. And over these two Tests, he has shown some movement back towards the assured, solid player he is. Maybe time away from this format has helped - no domestic cricket either since March last year - him come back with clarity and simplicity. It certainly looks that way. A reassuring knock on many fronts, this.

Watching from outside


KL Rahul gets to 90

Jinx alert, etc. KL Rahul doesn't usually fail to convert into three figures once he gets into the nineties. Big chance for him here to get that first Test hundred in three years.

The next gen is watching...


Have your say


Tea, Day 1

That session was getting away from England pretty quickly until James Anderson returned. India struck at 3.33 as opposed to 2.46 in the first session, and it was breezy going for the opening pair. India don't often get opening stands in three figures overseas. Rohit Sharma came his closest to an overseas hundred and was stopped in his tracks by a lovely nip-backer from Anderson. Pujara was all over the place coming in and having to face Anderson. He's short of runs, he's desperate for runs. He doesn't go very well against Anderson in general, and he didn't look at all like he would today - survived an lbw shout from an indipper he didn't pick, survived an edge through the cordon, and then eventually ended up stabbing one there for Jonny Bairstow.
Cheteshwar Pujara vs James Anderson in Tests:
This match so far has been only about three men - KL Rahul is one of them, and has begun to open up after biding his time. He's past fifty and ended the session driving Anderson through the covers. India are still on top after being put into bat. They'll hope this 20-minute break doesn't mean Anderson comes back for an extended spell; if he does, it will be Anderson vs Kohli again. A delicious final session is in store.

Oh Jimmy

Just as we were discussing England's struggle for control, seeming lack of plans, and indiscipline, Anderson comes back and works his magic. Mark Wood clattered at the other end not long after. It might be overstating it - but Anderson is both England's best attacking as well as defensive option at the moment. He's already making Pujara second guess everything too. With that dodgy quad though, he needs a lot more support from the other end.
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma's search for an overseas hundred will go on.

England vs KL Rahul on this tour

We've talked about how KL Rahul looks assured, is playing low-risk cricket, and seems more in control on his return to Test cricket this tour. Here's Shiva Jayaraman from our stats team on why that could be the case - hinting at the fact that it might not ALL be Rahul's doing.
"KL Rahul's judicious leaves outside off seem to have helped him successfully negotiate the new ball in this tour. He's looked much more assured in his defence than he did on his last tour in 2018. However, Rahul's comfort at the crease against the new ball might have more to do with the lines England pacers have bowled at him, than his increased willingness to leave balls outside off. Numbers suggest that he was almost as keen to leave balls on his last tour in 2018 as well, especially when he was woefully out of runs in the first four Tests. Before going to the final Test of the 2018 tour at The Oval (where he got a century in the second innings),
Rahul had offered no shot to 52 out of the 173 balls he had faced till then - a leave percentage of 30%. On this tour, till the end of the 30th over in this innings KL Rahul's leave percentage against pacers stands at 38%. This increase is perhaps more due to the fact that England have NOT made him play as much as they did on the last tour. On that tour, 35% of the balls the England pacers bowled at him in the first four Tests were at the stumps. That line of attack seemed to have troubled him: he was not in control of his shots to 35% of the balls. In six out of eight innings he was either bowled or out lbw. On this tour, the proportion of balls at the stumps has come down to 28% - and eight percentage point increase in leaves is being nearly compensated by 7% change in line. England, perhaps, need to correct their line to him a touch."

England at the toss and thereafter

I mentioned earlier that India might have been grateful that they were put in. Both teams were looking to bowl first today and on the evidence so far, that decision might have been entirely based on overhead conditions. On our lunch show, VVS Laxman called it a defensive move on Root's part to elect to bowl. At the start of play, I'd also mentioned how India's decision to play with a long tail was an aggressive one, and we should look at these positions side by side. Both captains were possibly worried about the forms of their respective batters when the rain showed up. England have a fragile top three on form, and India have only six specialist batters. Both captains were prepared to throw in what they thought was the better half of their teams; there's no saying how England's batters might have gone, but it probably might not have been as difficult as Root might have imagined.
After having made that decision, though, England haven't been at their best. The swing's been around, there's bounce that both Wood and Robinson have managed to find, but they have struggled collectively for discipline. Stuart Broad tweeted earlier that this was the kind of surface where you must plug up the runs and at some point the weather could change your fortunes. England haven't managed that sort of containment, but it hasn't been because of a sustained, troublesome attacking approach; no set-ups and seemingly no plans so far. We thought they might test Rohit with the short ones when a short leg came in during the tenth over, but that hasn't materialized either. There hasn't been a single stretch of play where India's openers have had questions asked of them.

Rohit gets fifty at last

After a short streak of averaging well more than an hour per innings for scores in the thirties, Rohit Sharma finally has fifty. It's been six innings since his last score of fifty-plus, and that was against England in Ahmedabad earlier this year. It's his seventh away from home. He's still searching for a hundred abroad and there is a chance today - the pitch seems friendly if your technique can handle any influence from the overhead conditions. So far, Rohit has managed that. That favoured hook shot has come out nicely too with the six against Mark Wood.

Lunch, Day 1

An early lunch, most desirable in every other context. Over here, conditions have gotten better, but the delay was close enough to the session break that they could take it without losing too many overs.
Once again, Rohit Sharma has done a job as opener. As he has been on the last few tours, Rohit was happy to leave and defend in the opening hour. When Sam Curran came on, he was briefly troubled by his front foot plant across off stump. But he sorted that out in quick time - in a matter of minutes, really - and then put pressure on Curran with that giant 15th over. Four boundaries in the over, the best of them a scrumptious push through point after jumping down the track to counter swing; and then a gentle flick to reinforce that the front foot plant was gone.
KL Rahul looked assured as well at the other end. It is India's first session overseas since Cape Town 2007 where they've gone to lunch without losing a wicket. It helped of course that this wasn't a full session, but it's a decent indicator of how well they did this morning.
England were spot on too, barring Curran's up and down spell, after electing to bowl. It's a day on which both captains were looking to bowl first, possibly influenced by the overhead conditions. But India might feel slightly relieved they were put in after this start.

A good over rate, you say?

So England have got in 15 overs in the first hour. Remember, both teams were docked points after the first Test for the over rate. The correction has been alright early in this one. Here's what our experts said in the pre-match show. What do you think? Feel free to find me over on Twitter @varunshetty and we can try to get a discussion going.

First ten overs

The wonderful thing about watching two quality teams play each other over a long series is that the cricket just seems to take off where it had left. The openers from both teams have been on the money again. You expect Anderson to be on the money every time, and Ollie Robinson is continuing to impress at Test cricket. Two slightly different styles of bowling, but Robinson has been less hit-the-deck so far and has kept it full enough to ask questions. That will gradually change, I think - Hameed jumping into short leg for Rohit is a signal in that direction. Remember, he was out hooking last match and never really shies away from that shot.
KL Rahul looks as solid as he was at Trent Bridge as well. Soft hands, close to the body, and no exaggerated shuffle. A decent start for India, they haven't looked too troubled. Now Sam Curran will test that.

What these playing XIs mean

Anderson's scans were "clear as anything," says Root. So that's that, he will continue to lead the attack. The big talking point is Haseeb Hameed's return. Don't think it's an exaggeration to say English fans have literally waited five years to see this again. He had such a bright start against India - against whom he has played all three of his Tests so far - in 2016 and it's been a long, wobbly journey back into the team for him. He'll certainly be pleased he isn't batting this morning. As expected, Moeen Ali is in there and the bluster of Mark Wood will bring variety to this line-up.
England: 1 Rory Burns, 2 Dom Sibley, 3 Haseeb Hameed, 4 Joe Root (capt.), 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Sam Curran, 9 Ollie Robinson, 10 Mark Wood, 11 James Anderson
Ashwin was part of the 12, says Kohli, but he will miss out once again. This is a very aggressive approach from India; yes, they did it last match as well, but without the batting of Thakur, you would've forgiven them for reverting to their old structure. Instead, it's an old-fashioned tail who will be given the license to worry only about picking up 20 wickets. I get the feeling that WTC loss is still stinging them a little.
It is impressive, but especially bold because it's not just a show of confidence in the bowler's abilities to take 20 wickets, but also in Pujara and Rahane. India's most experienced batters alongside Kohli have been told once again that they simply must do the job of holding that batting together. They're likely to have finalised this XI long ahead of the toss, but in conditions like this morning's, it is another very aggressive decision considering the form those three have been in.
India: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 KL Rahul, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt), 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Ishant Sharma, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Mohammed Siraj


Plenty to ponder for both teams. England, more so. Ollie Pope isn't playing this game and so we could see a proper restructure from them today. For one, we might see Moeen Ali in there as a genuine fifth bowling option and batting at 7. That means batting all the way down to 9 with Ollie Robinson. Nagraj also reports that Haseeb Hameed is in the slip cordon during warm-ups, alongside Sibley, Burns, and Bairstow. Crawley out?
The bigger headache for them, of course, is James Anderson's fitness; and you get the sense that they might be keen to get him on with Stuart Broad ruled out. It does make for a relatively inexperienced bowling line-up otherwise. England's other options in pace are Mark Wood, Saqib Mahmood and Craig Overton.
For India, the big questions remains whether R Ashwin will play. Shardul Thakur is up and about at the warm-ups, but he has a left hamstring strain that will rule him out. It should be the same line-up otherwise, aside from considering whether Ishant Sharma makes it over Mohammed Siraj this time.

"There's no forecast for rain"

And yet there is rain. As usual, there is much banter and mirth on ESPNcricinfo's internal channels about what exactly constitutes an English summer. When Andrew Miller was walking down Wellington Road earlier, he reported grey skies and a hint of drizzle, "but the sense is that it will burn off." Not long after that, Nagraj Gollapudi reported simply: "all covers on, rain."
All of that was about a half an hour ago, and the good news is that the drizzle has thinned out and the forecast looks good. We're still an hour away from the first ball, so keep your fingers crossed. And in the meantime, here is the customary - and slightly skewed - report of what's for lunch at the Lord's today.

Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo