Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul’s watchful yet pragmatic alliance worth 46* is the highest opening stand for a team inserted to bat at Lord’s since the 114-run partnership shared by Andrew Strauss and Sir Alistair Cook against South Africa in 2008. The Indian openers kept the brand new Dukes at bay by blocking right under their nose and not bothering to waft at deliveries in the fifth-stump channel. In fact, the scoreline of 11/0 was the lowest after 10 overs in a Test in England since Pakistan were 9-1 back in 2010.
It was also the only occasion since 2011 that a side having elected to bowl first at the iconic venue couldn’t pick a wicket inside the first ten overs. The stickability that Rohit brings to the crease has also helped India make significant amends to their average opening partnership duration in overseas Tests. While it was pegged at an insipid 7.2 overs in 2018, the statistics in 2021 display a much-improved reading at 19.1 overs, calculated since Rohit was promoted to the top of the order.
Both Rohit and Rahul deserve plaudits for curbing their natural instincts to score and score at a fair clip. Freewheeling strokeplayers of their ilk could be lured into loose drives away from the body but the opening duo has shown admirable restraint by keeping their shots to themselves. That’s not to say they’ve let the freebies pass unpunished, but that they’ve not gone searching for runs on the devilish decks of England.