Lunch report: Kohli, Pujara take India forward after Broad nails two
Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara during their unbeaten 50-run stand (Getty Images)

An absorbing first session of play took place at the Ageas Bowl on Day 2. Bowling that posed questions, batsmen who looked determined, chances that were close, review that were lost, and most importantly, wickets that were taken. Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, India’s overnight batsmen were looking set to make something substantial of yet another promising start, until Stuart Broad dented India’s brisk start sending both openers back in a span of 13 runs.

At 50/2, another wicket could have hurt the visiting team. But the man walking out at the fall of India’s second wicket was India’s best of the series, and Virat Kohli ensured his team did not flounder. Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara played out a testing period to take India to 100/2 at the lunch interval on the second day of the fourth Test at the Ageas Bowl, 146 behind England’s 246.

Pujara and Kohli’s unbeaten 50-run stand was one of the two highlights of the session, the other being Kohli scoring his 6000th Test run, that came through a streaky boundary towards third man. Once that was taken care of, the Indian captain looked a pillar of concentration, and together with Pujara, broke the shackles and gave the Indian innings a much-needed impetus.

The first hour was testing. Broad and James Anderson, who literally wasted the new ball yesterday by bowling too many outside off, operated differently on Friday. There were plenty of nervous moments, and despite India scoring three boundaries in the first three overs of the day, the batsmen were made to play the waiting game. Few nervy moments later, Broad produced an in-dipper that rapped Rahul on the pads and he was given out, the review not saving him. And thus began India’s crawl, during which three back-to-back maidens were bowled.

Dhawan resembled a batsman who had done the hard work, almost a shade of Alastair Cook. But he seemed to get bothered by the occasional sharp rising delivery. One such delivery came in the 14th over, that swung to an extent that it clipped Dhawan’s thigh guard before reaching Buttler. England thought had their man, but ended up losing a review. Broad came back two overs later, fresh from the drinks break, and just when India had posted 50, Dhawan poked at a delivery outside off and was taken.

Pujara did what he does best: grind. But by the time Kohli got into his elements, Pujara partner grew in confidence to strike three boundaries and look more assured. The Indian captain opened his account with a classic cover drive off the second ball he faced, and nine balls later, became the second fastest Indian batsman after Sunil Gavaskar to bring up 6000 runs in the format.

Brief scores: India 100/2 (Pujara 28*, Kohli 25*), trail England (246 all out) by 146 runs at lunch on Day 2.