England were left cursing their luck after India recovered admirably to double their total for the loss of only two wickets despite abundant seam and swing movement at Lord’s.
Ajinkya Rahane (103) shut out the hosts, in a stand of 90 with No 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, as India turned 145-7 into 290-9 despite James Anderson’s figures of 4-55.
Ben Stokes, who contributed just one wicket but a big one in the shape of the dogged and skilful Cheteshwar Pujara, gave Rahane due credit but bemoaned England’s misfortune too.
After Alastair Cook won the toss, England could take only two wickets before lunch. Then by tea, it seemed they were sure to hustle through the tourists on day one of this second Investec Test – only for Rahane, in particular, to prove otherwise.
“I think there’s a bit of frustration, especially the last session there – the tail hanging around with Rahane,” said Stokes.
“But you’ve got to give credit to him, the way he played – it was a really good knock.
“It’s good to see the ball carrying through and swinging,” said Stokes.
“I don’t think we’re too far off, if anything we maybe bowled a bit too wide.
“After lunch we bowled a little bit straighter and made them play, they left a bit too easily before lunch.”
Anderson will face a preliminary International Cricket Council hearing next Tuesday after India instigated a Level Three charge against him for his part in an altercation with Ravindra Jadeja during the first Test.
He was not necessarily at his best, but accounted for the wicket of Rahane with a nonchalant return catch, one-handed low to his left.
Rahane’s 151-ball century was built on admirable defence, but contained 15 fours too – and a memorable straight six from the crease off Anderson, with the second new ball.
Anderson and Stuart Broad erred in line on a sunny morning and wicketkeeper Matt Prior missed two catches as India largely kept the bowlers at bay.
The hosts were much-improved in the afternoon, and reaped just rewards, before Rahane and Kumar – their stumbling block in the first Test, with two half-centuries – held them up for 24 overs.
Gary Ballance and Anderson combined to see the back of Shikhar Dhawan – a 230th Test victim in England for the pace spearhead, taking him past Fred Trueman as this country’s most prolific wicket-taker on home soil.
Ballance held a neat catch at third slip when Anderson found the edge with movement down the slope to the left-hander.
Broad might have reduced India to 11-2 had Prior managed to cling on to a tough chance diving low to his right in front of slip, with opener Murali Vijay on nought.
Anderson began with five maidens on a day when he would also become all-time leading wicket-taker at Lord’s and in Tests between England and India, but he and Broad both allowed Vijay and Pujara the freedom to leave a high percentage of deliveries and often watch the ball swing and seam harmlessly by.
Stoic Pujara spent 24 balls on nought, but it was to be Vijay who fell to first-change Liam Plunkett. England’s quickest bowler pitched up only sparingly, and it was a short-of-a-length ball that had the opener aiming to leg but edging to third slip – where Ballance was safe again with a very sharp chance.
An over of spin from Moeen Ali almost salvaged England’s morning, but instead danger man Virat Kohli was dropped by Prior on 20 off the final ball of the session.
It was not a costly slip, Kohli giving Prior a second chance when he edged some outswing behind after Anderson switched to the nursery end.
Pujara’s vigil extended to 117 balls before Stokes bowled him with an especially good delivery which jagged up the slope between a forward-defensive bat and pad to hit middle-stump.
When Broad then joined the wicket-takers, Mahendra Singh Dhoni his 250th Test victim caught-behind pushing forward, India had a fight on their hands to eke out even 200.
Jadeja walked out to boos from a crowd apparently less than pleased with his perceived role in the spat with Anderson – and he soon had more time to contemplate the Level Two counter-accusation lodged by England against him, after Moeen had him lbw on the front-foot defence.
Anderson had Stuart Binny lbw with another that nipped against the Lord’s gradient, but thereafter, as others picked up the slack to rest Broad and Anderson, Rahane and Kumar took over.
Yorkshire’s Plunkett, reportedly troubled by a sore hamstring, resorted to a spell of round-the-wicket bombardment, but it got him and England nowhere.
It was therefore not until Broad torpedoed Kumar on the back foot with the second new ball that England struck again on a day perhaps marginally edged by the tourists after all.