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Rahane century rescues India at Lord’s on day 1

July 17, 2014

LONDON (AP) — Ajinkya Rahane spearheaded India’s comeback from a perilous 145-7 with a fighting 103 to help the tourists reach 290-9 against England after day one of the second test at Lord’s on Thursday.

Rahane was pure glue for India as he came to the crease in the fifth over after lunch at 86-3 and watched teammates rapidly depart in the second session.

But he and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who scored two half centuries in the draw at Trent Bridge, forged an alliance that turned the momentum India’s way, as England’s bowlers lost their line in the third session.

With India looking like it would be bowled out for less than 200, Rahane and Kumar added 90 for the eighth wicket, then Rahane and Mohammed Shami added another 40 for the ninth before Rahane was out chipping straight back to fast bowler James Anderson, four overs before stumps.

In the same over, he’d just hit his 15th boundary to bring up his second century in his seventh test, and left to loud applause from a Lord’s crowd appreciative of a brilliant innings.

Shami, 14 not out, and Ishant Sharma, 12 not out, safely reached stumps to bolster India’s confidence on a ground where it has won only once in 16 tests, and left England to rue another blown opportunity.

Rahane wasn’t fazed by the green pitch which prompted England captain Alastair Cook to bowl first after winning the toss. India counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni said he would have done the same.

But Rahane said he was used to playing on bouncy tracks in his Mumbai hometown and loved them. His plan was to play deliberately slowly until he’d scored 30-odd, then be positive. He was true to his word.

Almost respectful of the bowling, his first 50 took 101 balls, and came up with his seventh boundary, through extra cover. But he charged through his second 50.

On a day when Anderson took four wickets to leave behind Fred Trueman to become the leading wicket-taker in England, Rahane took 11 off one Anderson over to rush through the 80s, then hit two boundaries off Anderson perfectly past nearby fielders to make 98.

He eventually was out to a bowl-and-catch, but he’d led India away from a deep hole.

Kumar made 36 before he was bowled middle stump by Stuart Broad, who took an expensive 2-79.

The first session was India’s, despite the pitch.

Anderson’s first five overs were maidens, including the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan for 7.

Gary Ballance took a fine, low catch at third slip for Dhawan, and also caught the ball which Murali Vijay edged off Liam Plunkett on 24.

India went to lunch on 73-2, but it could have been a whole lot worse if England wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who dropped a bunch of catches in the first test, dropped two more in the opening session at Lord’s.

Vijay hadn’t scored when Prior dropped his edge off Broad, then fumbled Virat Kohli on 20 when he nicked Moeen Ali.

Kohli failed to capitalize on his reprieve. He added only five more after lunch before edging Anderson behind to Prior.

Then followed Cheteshwar Pujara, clean bowled by a Stokes in-swinger for 28 off 117 balls. Dhoni became Broad’s 250th test wicket for England, edging behind for 1, and Ravindra Jadeja made only 3 before he was bowled leg before by Ali.

Jadeja was booed by England supporters when he arrived, for his involvement in a first-test incident with Anderson, which will involve a hearing next week.

When Stuart Binny fell for 9 to Anderson on 145-7, England seemed certain to bowl India out before the close of play, but Rahane took control.

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