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Updated January 26th, 2024 at 12:29 IST

KL Rahul's unbeaten fifty guides India to 222 for 3 at lunch on Day 2

Despite a greater effort from England's spinners, KL Rahul's unbeaten fifty proved to be the turning point as India closed the gap on the second day of the first Test here on Friday, reaching 222 for three at lunch.

Reported by: Press Trust Of India
KL Rahul
KL Rahul in action against England | Image:X/@BCCI
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KL Rahul’s unruffled fifty formed the fulcrum as India reached 222 for three at lunch to close the gap, despite England spinners producing a better effort, on the second day of the first Test here on Friday.

Rahul (55 batting) and Shreyas Iyer (34 batting) are at the crease as India, resuming from their overnight 119 for one, now trail England by 24 runs. The visitors were bowled out for 246 in their first innings on Day 1.

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Rahul was all imperious timing and he seemed to have imbibed a lot of confidence from that hundred against South Africa earlier this month at Centurion.

The conditions at the RGI Stadium were vastly different from the SuperSport Park but no less challenging, especially with England tweakers settling into an improved rhythm.

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But, Rahul held his ground firmly with his technical correctness coming to the fore against both spinners and pacer, helping India to make 103 runs at 3.81 runs per over.

The Bengaluru man used his ballet-dancer feet well to meet Tom Hartely’s delivery midway to smote it through the long-on for a boundary.

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If that showed his light footwork, his impeccable timing was on view when he punched pacer Mark Wood through the covers for a four.

Rahul’s ability to improvise was there for all to see when he paddle-pulled Wood for a four behind square leg, and he soon brought up his 14th Test fifty with a single off Joe Root.

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But at the other end, Shreyas, who helped Rahul milk 63 runs for the ongoing fourth-wicket stand, was not entirely comfortable, especially when Wood tested him with a few short-pitched balls.

England positioned a deep third man, deep fine leg and deep backward square leg to trap him, but the Mumbaikar survived the barrage to fight another session.

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Even leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed managed to find an outside edge of Shreyas’ bat, but the ball landed inches short of Root at first slip.

However, India made an inauspicious start to the day, losing overnight batter Yashasvi Jaiswal in the fourth ball of the day's first over.

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Jaiswal biffed a four through long-on in the second ball of that over but his attempt for an encore two balls later resulted in a tame return catch to Root.

England were understandably delighted after that wicket because an extended stay for Jaiswal would have further pushed them to the backfoot.

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Gill, the other overnight batter, too could not kick on as his attempt to swat Hartley ended in the hands of Ben Duckett at mid-wicket, giving the left-arm spinner his maiden Test wicket.

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Published January 26th, 2024 at 12:29 IST

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