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India 106 for 3 (Rohit 80*, Rahane 5*) vs England A sparking innings from Rohit Sharma held India together during a harum-scarum first session on day one of the second Test in Chennai. The India opener rattled off an unbeaten 80 from 78 balls, an innings full of aggressive intent on what appeared to be a dicey Chepauk surface, as England claimed three wickets – including that of Virat Kohli for a five-ball duck, bowled through the gate by Moeen Ali on his comeback to Test cricket.
England, whose attack featured three changes from the one that bowled them to victory in the first Test, made a good start after losing the start, with Olly Stone claiming a wicket with his third ball of the morning, Shubman Gill pinned lbw offering no shot. Rohit and Cheteshwar Pujara then played positively during an 85-run partnership at more than four an over, with the former latching on anytime England’s bowlers missed their lengths. Rohit hooked Ben Stokes for six, twice swept Jack Leach for fours to bring up a 47-ball fifty and drilled another boundary to long-on to take India to 100 shortly before the break.
There were early signs of turn and the ball disturbing the surface, though, and it was Leach who broke the second-wicket stand when Pujara tamely steered to slip. That brought cheers from the crowd, with Chepauk back at 50% capacity for this game, as Kohli walked out to bat – but they were silenced a few moments later when Moeen tossed up an inviting delivery that ragged back inside Kohli’s expansive drive to ping the off bail.
11.25am: Kohli moly
That Kohli wicket – and his reaction – has already got plenty of people talking, griping and gawping…
Kohli is dumbfounded, but he’s been knocked over for a fifth-ball duck by Moeen Ali! Silence at Chepauk, and Kohli needs convincing that he’s been done through the gate by a big-turning offie, hanging around as the umpires check the replays (which quickly confirm that the ball crashed into the off bail). Huge blow, thought somewhat self-inflicted, as Kohli aimed a booming off-side drive that turned sharply from wide of off stump. Moeen, celebrating his first wicket since getting Tim Paine at Edgbaston in 2019, was off immediately towards cover, arm raised in celebration.
Virat wants DRS for the bowled; aka Gatting’s reaction had it existed in 1993 #INDvENG
Cheers around the ground, because England have taken their second wicket Virat Kohli is walking to the middle! Slightly strange shot from Pujara, dabbing late at a turning delivery in the channel outside off and steering it straight to slip. England get some succour after a tough hour or so.
11am: Mo show
Ian Bell: Moeen Ali the better spinner between him and Dom Bess
Moeen Ali is back in England’s Test team for the first time since the 2019 Ashes, and England will be hoping that he can bring the experience of his 60 caps to bear after replacing Dom Bess. His first ball was a full toss (the crime for which Dom Bess was dropped) and there have been one or two four balls, mixed in with some nicely flighted fare, in his opening spell so far. The India run rate is hovering around four an over, and England need to tighten up.
Two Leach full tosses dispatched for hard-swept fours and Rohit Sharma has a 47-ball half-century for the Chepauk crowd to lap up. Virat Kohli said previously that his team know how to play in these conditions and Rohit is providing proof of that, making light of any encouragement for the bowlers by taking them on whenever an opportunity arises. Leach did get one to turn and bounce to take the glove when Rohit had 41, but it didn’t quite carry to Stokes at slip. With spin at both ends, after the introduction of the returning Moeen Ali, this could be an entertaining passage of play.
10.30am: Polished Stone, Rohits the spot
Olly Stone has only played one first-class match since his Test debut in 2019, but his opening spell on his return to England whites could barely have gone better. Wicket from his third ball, Pujara hurried and hit, pace up to 150kph/92mph, figures of 4-2-8-1. He provided both wicket-taking threat and economy, even as Rohit was latching on to anything overpitched by Broad at the other end. England’s opening pair stuck diligently to their lines and when Stone did finally deliver a short, wide ball that Rohit cut to the boundary in his fourth over, it was the first ball not pitching outside off or within the stumps, according to ESPNcricinfo’s ball-by-ball data (41 outside off, 6 within the stumps). Rohit, meanwhile, has looked to be positive at every opportunity, hooking Ben Stokes for six and scoring 41 out of India’s 48 for 1 after the first hour.
10.15am: Make your pitch
Early signs that this Chepauk deck is going to give a little more comfort to the bowlers, with puffs of dust and the ball stopping in the surface. Rohit, having stroked a couple of classy boundaries off Broad, saw one checked drive loop up and over mid-on, while Stone hit Cheteshwar Pujara on the hand with a well-directed short ball – more punches for Puj to absorb. Jack Leach then saw his first ball go through the top, and England lost a review in the same over after a leg-side lbw shout against Rohit. Plenty going on so far, and you can see whether that tallies with what our Match Day team were expecting before the start.
9.45am: Stone’s perfect start
Much debate about England’s policy of rotating their bowlers throughout this six-Test tour of the subcontinent, but a fresh new-ball pair of Stuart Broad and Olly Stone started right on the money. After Broad’s maiden to Rohit Sharma, Stone then claimed his first Test wicket since July 2019 with his third ball of the morning, as Shubman Gill padded up to one that would have toppled off stump. An easy decision for the umpire, as our own Andrew Miller called it:
Here’s Axar Patel getting his cap on debut. He’ll now be hoping to put his feet up and leave his bowling boots in the changing room for the rest of the day… Time to get going out at Chepauk, where the crowds are back and Rohit Sharma is facing up to Broad, headband in place, with the new ball. Three slips and a gully watching on.
9.20am: Rotation situation
England, of course, have made four changes to a winning team, partly due to injury but also because of preconceived plans about rest and rotation. Here’s Stuart Broad, back in the side in place of James Anderson, on his preparation having sat out the last two Tests: “[It’s gone] as well as can be expected, it’s been nearly a month since I had any form of match practice, but you’ve got to get what you can get in nets but that’s just part of the current situation we’re in. We saw how well the India bowlers came out in Australia after not much match practice and we’re in a similar boat today but we’ve had great facilities to train on, get the full run-up in the nets and I feel as ready as can be. It is quite hard to replicate match conditions in the nets, you just have to try and up your intensity as much as you can. That’s where experience [comes in], I’ve played a lot of cricket, I can fall back on knowledge and feel calm at the crease knowing that I’ve been there before.”
9am: India win the toss, make three changes
Plenty of changes for both teams from their first Test!
Hello and welcome to Chennai II: Payback. That, at least, is the script Virat Kohli is working from – and having won the toss and chosen to bat, his side should get to dictate terms on what is expected to be a much livelier track. India have given a debut to Axar Patel, whose absence through injury last week had a knock-on effect for the rest of the XI. With Patel fit, they have recalled Kuldeep Yadav for the first time in two years, while Mohammed Siraj replaces Jasprit Bumrah, who is rested after bowling 42 overs in his first Test on home soil. England had named their XII on the eve of the match, with Stuart Broad, Ben Foakes and Moeen Ali all coming in. The final spot came down to Olly Stone’s pace versus the experience (and batting) of Chris Woakes, with Stone getting the nod. He’ll play his second Test, having debuted against Ireland at Lord’s in 2019.
Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick