Opener Rohit Sharma’s splendid hundred (161) helped India post 300/6 on Day 1 of the second Test at a rank-turner at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Apart from Rohit’s brilliant display of stroke-making, Ajinkya Rahane also contributed with a half-century (67). Spinners picked 5 of the 6 wickets that fell on the day with Jack Leach (2/78) being the pick of the bowlers.
The hosts opted to bat first after winning the toss but did not get off to an ideal start as Shubman Gill was dismissed for a duck. However, Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara joined the Hitman to revive the Indian innings as the duo shared a 85-run stand for the second wicket with Rohit doing the bulk of the scoring. Just when it looked like, the hosts are tightening their grip on the match, English spinners struck twice to put India on the backfoot before the lunch break as Pujara and Virat Kohli were dismissed in quick succession.
Kohli also became the victim of a spinner for the first time on a duck during his international career as Moeen Ali got one to turn sharply and disturbed his stumps. Ajinkya Rahane then joined fellow Mumbaikar Rohit to lead India’s recovery after they were 3 down for 86. Rohit took a particular liking to the sweep shot during the course of his innings which included 18 fours and 2 sixes. Rahane looked efficient while he lasted on the wicket as he scored 67. The pair stitched a 162-run partnership before the Hitman departed on the same stroke he had made most of his runs- sweeping one off Jack Leach straight to Moeen Ali at deep square leg, ending a fine innings on a tricky wicket to bat on.
Soon after Rahane also departed despite surviving a couple of lucky calls before R Ashwin too was sent back. While it was Ali who dismissed Rahane, Joe Root got the wicket of Ashwin. Rishabh Pant and debutant Axar Patel remained unbeaten at the end of day’s play with the hosts possibly being the happier side predicting further deterioration of the pitch as the game progresses.