India in control of first Test as Rahul, Jadeja knocks increase lead
Fluent half-centuries by KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja have earned India a handy first-innings lead of 175 and given them control of the opening Test against England at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
India, who have not lost a Test series at home since 2012, finished day two on a commanding 7-421 in their robust reply to England’s middling 246 in the first innings.
Jadeja was on 81 at stumps on Friday having raised 63 runs with Axar Patel, who was still there on 35.
After India resumed day two on 1-119, England opened with part-time spinner Joe Root, who dismissed the dangerous-looking Yashasvi Jaiswal (80) in his first over.
Jaiswal hit Root’s second ball for a four but, two balls later, offered a high return catch to Root, who leapt to pouch the ball.
Rahul got a reprieve when Ben Foakes grassed a tough chance behind the stumps after the batter, yet to open his account, had edged Root.
Root was unlucky again when Shubman Gill miscued a shot but Ben Stokes, stationed at mid-off, lost sight of the ball against the sun.
Root was taken off the attack after four overs in a move as surprising as England’s decision of not bowling him on Thursday when Jaiswal was toying with the England spinners.
Tom Hartley had particularly suffered at the hands of Jaiswal but the left-arm spinner put that agony behind him and dismissed Gill (23) for his first wicket in international cricket.
Rahul smacked two sixes in a Rehan Ahmed over to put India in the lead and forged half-century partnerships with Shreyas Iyer (35) and Jadeja to consolidate India’s position.
Leg-spinner Ahmed removed Iyer with Hartley taking the catch in the deep.
The roles were reversed as the English duo combined again to dismiss Rahul, who threw his bat in disgust after pulling a Hartley half-tracker to Ahmed when a hundred seemed there for the taking.
Jadeja, who added 68 with Srikar Bharat (41) for the sixth wicket, celebrated his eventful half-century twirling the bat in his signature sword-dance style.
The allrounder was twice adjudged out – first caught at short leg off Jack Leach and then lbw to Root – but both decisions were overturned on review.
Jadeja was also involved in an almighty mix-up that led to Ravichandran Ashwin’s run-out after both batters ended up at the same end.
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