Under the Radar - 2nd Test, Day 1, India vs England

The not so talked about moments from yesterday's play.

Every day’s play in a test match lasts for around 7 hours and 90 overs. Not everyone gets to watch every moment of the day’s play for obvious reasons. You have the highlights package, which as the name suggests, is a quick fix for anyone who wants to catch up with the game in a hurry. But, certain performances and moments in the test match tend to go under the radar in most of the reports and highlights, but deserve some words. Here are some crucial day 1 performances that went under the radar :

1) The Rohit - Pujara partnership :

Pujara walked out to partner Rohit at the fall of Shubman Gill’s wicket with the scorecard still reading 0 in the second over of the morning. Walking in to some serious pace from Olly Stone, who was in full flight, the pair had their task cut out. The pair expertly negotiated Olly Stone’s spell only to see Jack Leach and Moeen Ali turning some deliveries square. While Rohit took an aggressive, ‘make batting look easy’ approach, Pujara was busy jumping out of his crease just to defend primarily or flick on second thoughts. It came as no surprise that Pujara contributed to only 1/4th of the runs in the partnership, while facing an even share of the balls. But, the pair had just done enough to ensure the middle order don’t come in at a more desperate time.

2) The Olly Stone spells of fire:

Olly Stone, whose promising and awaited career, has been set back multiple times by injuries. He even injured his knee rather undramatically after leaping into the air and landing painfully, celebrating a wicket, during one of the NatWest Blast tie. The Englishman had just one test to his name against Ireland in 2019, where he impressed with 3 wickets. While he seemed a certainty for the rest of the English summer, the injuries followed him again. Yesterday though highlighted why the ECB has invested heavily on his bowling. In his very first over of the day, he shaped two deliveries away from Gill, only to bring the third one in, leaving Gill bamboozled. Here is a screen grab from BCCI.tv that shows the set up. The yellow delivery was the one that got him, while the other two set him up.

He came back before lunch and produced a spell of intense scrutiny with great pace, clocking 145 kph consistently. Rahane had to take evasive action to ensure he can come out to bat on the other side of the break only to face a fiery Stone again. Stone, with his accuracy and pace, troubled even the well set Rohit after lunch. That spell was the only period where Rohit was showing signs of weakness on an otherwise flawless day. I have a feeling the best of Stone in this match is yet to come.