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Test Cricket Day 2: India 421/7 at stumps: Rahul, Jadeja fifties lead by 175

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Valuable contributions from the middle order has put India in a dominant position in the opening Test against England in Hyderabad. While KL Rahul made 86 and Ravindra Jadeja finished the day unbeaten on 81, there was support from the likes of Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat and Axar Patel as well as India went into stumps on Day 2 with a lead of 175.

England actually began the day with a bang when they got rid of overnight batter Yashasvi Jaiswal in the very first over of the day. Jaiswal appeared to continue from where he left after he smashed Joe Root over his head for a boundary off the second ball of the day. However, the former England skipper got his revenge as Jaiswal chipped one back to the bowler in the same over to depart for 80.

Shubman Gill at the other end was content batting time but at one point lost focus and wanted to smash one down the ground to break the shackles. Fortunately, the mistimed shot landed safe, much to the batter’s relief. However, he couldn’t really cash in on that opportunity as he eventually got out while attempting to break free again. Tom Hartley, who copped a beating on the first day, managed to open his account with a fuller delivery that Gill attempted to whip with no real control. It was Rahul who was doing the bulk of the scoring for India in that opening session.

After fetching back-to-back boundaries against Hartley, Rahul farmed the strike against Mark Wood even though he was brought on to target Iyer. In the process, Rahul added to his boundary tally as he sent three balls to the fence. With time, Iyer grew in confidence as well as India managed to get closer to England’s total by the lunch break. Post resumption, Iyer fell immediately after mistiming one to find the fielder in the deep but Rahul took a liking to Rehan Ahmed’s bowling to smash him around for a couple of fours and a couple of sixes in successive overs to give India the lead.

Jadeja then got going by punishing a full toss from Joe Root straight down the ground for a boundary before taking full toll of a half-tracker from Rehan. Jadeja also ensured that Jack Leach didn’t get to settle in immediately after being introduced into the attack by hammering him over mid wicket for his first six of the innings. At the other end, Rahul fell against the run of play after looking well on course to bringing up another century. Like Iyer, he too managed to find the fielder at the deep to fall 14 short of a ton.

One more wicket at that stage could have helped England limit the damage but a determined Bharat hung on alongside Jadeja to extend India’s advantage. The duo frustrated England for a substantial period of time, guiding the lead beyond the 100-run mark. Taking the new ball finally worked for England but it was Root who came up with the breakthrough as England persisted with spin despite choosing to bowl with the brand new cherry. Bharat was trapped lbw for 41 by Root and a mix-up saw R Ashwin and Jadeja get stranded at the same end, only for the former to lose his wicket.

Despite the two quick wickets, England couldn’t cash in and run through the tail as Axar joined forces with Jadeja to pile on the misery. The two batters guided India’s total beyond 400 and then went into a shell right towards the end of the day’s play before Axar exploded to smash 4,6,4 off the final three balls of the day to rubber-stamp India’s dominance.

Brief scores: India 421/7 (KL Rahul 86, Ravindra Jadeja 81*; Joe Root 2/77) lead England 246 by 175 runs

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