Cricket news - Rohit's 161 makes it India's day despite wickets

Rohit and Rahane put on 162 runs for the fourth-wicket partnership.

Rohit and Rahane put on 162 runs for the fourth-wicket partnership.

Rohit Sharma's prolific strokeplay during his knock of 161, which included 18 fours and two sixes, was ably supported by Ajinkya Rahane's solid batting (67) in a 162-run fourth wicket partnership. But wickets in the first and last session on Saturday (February 13) prevented India from running away with the advantage on an eventful Day 1 of the second Test in Chennai. India went into Stumps at 300 for 6, with Rishabh Pant and debutant Axar Patel still batting.

On a dry wicket that had bite and kick right from the opening session, India scored 106 runs before Lunch at more than four an over, but at the cost of three wickets. The hosts were slightly slower after the Lunch break, with 83 runs being scored at just under three an over in the second session, but Rohit and Rahane ensured India did not lose any wickets. The fourth wicket association, which began when India were precariously placed at 86 for 3, lasted for more than 50 overs before England staged a comeback in the final session picking up three wickets more, at the cost of 111 runs which came at a run rate of 3.2.

Having played second fiddle to Rohit in the first two sessions, Rahane started with a flurry of boundaries in the final session, showcasing good footwork - be it coming down the track or using the depth of the crease - as he went past fifty. Rohit's 150 was the next milestone, followed by the partnership crossing 150. There was an appeal for stumping when Jack Leach beat Rohit and the batsman's backfoot appeared to be on the crease, but the third umpire ruled in favour of the batsman. Rohit, however, fell soon after top-edging a sweep off Leach which ended an excellent knock and a partnership that lasted more than 50 overs.

There was more controversy involving the third umpire when England thought Rahane was out caught at short leg off Leach. The initial shot, which Rahane missed, indicated that there was no bat involved. But after the ball clipped his pad, it brushed Rahane's glove but that segment was not checked by the third umpire, much to England's disappointment. Rahane eventually fell, bowled by Moeen after missing a sweep and a short while later, the review that England had lost due to the umpire' error was reinstated.

It didn't take too long for Pant to take on the bowlers, with the vicious spin making further case for his attacking play. He first put away a long-hop from Leach for a four before coming down the track to tonk one over cow corner for a six. Ashwin, meanwhile, played a Moeen delivery through the cover region for his first four while Pant also struck two successive fours off the off-spinner before reversing a caught behind decision in favour of the bowler. While Ashwin fell to Joe Root late in the day, Pant remained unbeaten along with Axar having helped India to 300.

Earlier, in what was an action-packed first session, Olly Stone, coming in as a replacement for Jofra Archer, trapped Shubman Gill in front for a duck. Rohit put the pressure back on England by creaming drives through the off side and scored boundaries at regular intervals to get India going, while Cheteshwar Pujara was solid as usual at the other end. The batsmen did struggle at times, but Rohit ensured that the runs came at a brisk rate, sweeping, pulling and driving with confidence. But England hit back with quick wickets as Leach accounted for Pujara to end a 85-run stand while Virat Kohli fell to Moeen without scoring, looking to drive against the spin but leaving a gate to be bowled.

The England bowlers were a lot tighter at the start of the second session, with Leach and Stone bowling in tandem to keep India in check. The release shot came from Rahane, who scored a couple of boundaries off Stone through the off side. Rohit's first four of the session came when he went aerial to sweep Moeen and a few overs later, he jumped down the track to the off-spinner to dispatch one over long-off.

There were a couple of nervous shots from Rohit as he approached the three-figure mark but he gained his composure to bring up his fourth century in 13 innings as an opener. There was still bite and kick off the pitch, with a few edges and close shaves along the way. But that did not affect the productivity of the batsmen who raised a century stand before England fought back in the final session.

Brief scores: India 300/6 (Rohit Sharma 161, Ajinkya Rahane 67; Jack Leach 2-78, Moeen Ali 2-112) vs England.