KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma stitched together a fine opening partnership worth 97 off 231 deliveries, which is India’s opening stand in the last 33 Test innings in England. Their robust alliance went past the 147-run partnership shared by Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik way back in 2007, and is now India’s second-best opening collaboration in England since 1979. To boot, it is also India’s first 100-run opening partnership in SENA countries since 2010, when Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir forged 137 runs against South Africa at Centurion.
The right-handed duo offered a wealth of judgement around the off-stump in the morning session while leaning purposefully into overcooked lengths. The openers adhered to the mantra of defending straight and scoring square on English greentops, with extra cover and backward point proving the most productive avenues. This was also the only occasion when both Indian openers survived 100+ balls in an innings in a Test outside Asia after the Trent Bridge Test in 2007, wherein Dinesh Karthik (136 balls) and Wasim Jaffer (123 balls) held India’s fort with aplomb.
However, just as it seemed India would hammer home the advantage into Lunch, Rohit’s inability to resist the temptation to put away a bouncer brought a wicket against the run of play. The breakthrough resulted in shared honours in what was a session dominated by the tourists. India entered into the break at 97/1, having lost Rohit for 36 off 107 balls. The senior pro would be kicking himself for throwing away an auspicious start and giving England a foot in the door moments before the interval.
#TeamIndia put on a 97-run partnership for the first wicket.
At Lunch on Day 2, the scoreboard reads 97/1
— BCCI (@BCCI) August 5, 2021