Rohit Sharma scored a dazzling 161 to propel India to a healthy score in front of returning fans, while England’s bowlers returned late on the opening day of the second Test on Saturday. India reached 300 to six on stumps after opting to hit Chennai. Rishabh Pant, 33, and Axar Patel, five, hit at the end of the game. Spinners Jack Leach and Moeen Ali each claimed two wickets on a pitch that came next. Ali pitched skipper Virat Kohli for nothing to get India into trouble at 86-3. Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, who made 67, put together a fourth-wicket stand of 162 to show the noise of cheering fans who had been left in the ground for the first time since the pandemic.
The opener reached his seventh Test century – and the first against England – and crossed the 150 in his 36th five-day game to a standing ovation from the ecstatic crowd.
But Leach broke through with his left arm twist to have Sharma trudge back to the pavilion in the final session after the batsman made a catch to the deep square leg.
Sharma, who survived a sharp chance – not given by the TV referee – on Leach with 159, hit 18 fours and two sixes in his 231 ball stay.
Rahane, who hit form after scores of one and zero in the first test, soon fell to Ali, thrown in another good delivery by the off-spinner. India lost three wickets in the last session.
Skipper Joe Root came in with his off spin to get Ravichandran Ashwin on short leg by Ollie Pope.
Previously, Olly Stone had Shubman Gill leg over for a duck in just the second of the day before, but Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara held the ship steady with an 85-run second wicket grandstand.
But then Leach took Pujara for 21 and Ali’s prized Kohli scalp left India 106 for three over lunch.
Ali threw Kohli through the gate while the Indian captain remained shocked for a few moments while the TV referee checked that the bail had been dislodged by the wicketkeeper’s gloves, before walking away into a bewildered silence.
The Indian players were greeted with whistles and chants of “Rohit, Rohit” while the Indian cricket welcomed a limited number of its raw fan base for the match.
England made four changes from their opening win, with Stuart Broad, Ali, Stone and wicket-keeper Ben Foakes firing the squad.
India handed left arm spinner Axar Patel his test debut, bringing paceman Mohammed Siraj and left arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav into the team.
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