India openers defy England in second Test

London (AFP) –


Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul displayed fine concentration and technique to take India to 46-0 in overcast, seam-bowler friendly conditions, during a rain-shortened opening session of the second Test against England at Lord's on Thursday.

Rohit was 35 not out and Rahul unbeaten on 10 with not even England great James Anderson, passed fit following a thigh injury scare, able to make a breakthrough in the 18.4 overs that were possible before rain led to an early lunch afer home captain Joe Root won the toss.

A green-tinged pitch allied to overcast skies, that saw the floodlights switched on at the 'home of cricket', were an ideal scenario for the pace bowlers on both sides, even though England came into the game without Stuart Broad, ruled out of the rest of the five-match series with a calf injury.

But Rohit and Rahul, both of whom batted well in similarly tough conditions during the rain-marred drawn first Test at Trent Bridge last week, were resolute in defence against the new-ball duo of Anderson and Ollie Robinson.

And when left-arm swing bowler Sam Curran, on as first change, strayed in direction, Rohit hit him for four fours in over including a stylish square drive.

England had feared being without both Anderson and Broad, their two all-time leading bowlers at this level with more than 1,000 wickets between then, for the first time in a home Test in nine years.

But while the 39-year-old Anderson bowled eight overs for 11 runs on Thursday, he was unable to add his tally of 621 Test wickets, the most by any paceman in the history of the format.

England made three changes to their side, with fast bowler Mark Wood replacing Broad.

Meanwhile, batsman Haseeb Hameed replaced the dropped Zak Crawley, averaging just 11 in Test cricket this year.

Injury and a severe loss of form that saw him move from Lancashire to Nottinghamshire had kept Hameed in the international wilderness since he won three caps in India in 2016.

England dropped another batsman in Dan Lawrence, with off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali recalled to what had been an all-pace attack.

India replaced injured pace-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur with experienced quick Ishant Sharma in the only change to their XI, resisting the temptation to bring back off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.