On a green top wicket where India suffered a middle-order collapse in the second session on Day 1 of the Lord's Test, middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane got his eye in, remained patient for long periods of the game and reaped the reward towards the end of the day as he etched his name on the prestigious Lord's honours board with a gritty ton. His innings ended at 103 off 154 balls with less than five overs of play. (Lord's Test Day 1 Highlights | Scorecard)
Rahane's ton came off 151 balls and was laced with a few gorgeous shots through covers and straight down the ground and some flicked away through mid-wicket and down to the fine leg fence as England bowlers failed to maintain their rhythm.
"Getting a hundred at Lord's is very special for me. I think we are in a great position now. If we get 20-30 more runs tomorrow, it will be a good total," Rahane said at the end of day's play.
Rahane had walked in to bat with India starting to crumble at 86/3, Rahane first joined Cheteshwar Pujara who was also toiling hard against England's pacers who were turning the heat on with accurate line and length in the second session. Pujara was done in by an excellent ball from Ben Stokes and that began India's procession. MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Stuart Binny fell in quick succession.
Rahane was stranded on 28 when India lost their seventh wicket and were looking destined to get bundled out for fewer than 200. Out walked Bhuvneshwar Kumar and a 90-run partnership for the eighth wicket followed. Bhuvneshwar, who scored two back-to-back fifties in the Trent Bridge Test, continued to look in good nick and in him, Rahane found a partner with whom he could orchestrate India's fightback. His knock of 36 was a crucial contribution to the team's cause.
A brilliantly constructed partnership, which included right amount of attack and defence from the duo helped India get past the 200-run mark. In the process, Rahane foiled England's ploy of digging it short from round the wicket with three close-in fielders on the leg side. Once set, Rahane exhibited class of a well-read batsman, displaying technical prowess of very high quality.
England took the second new new ball after 80 overs and Broad accounted for Bhuvneshwar Kumar's wicket but Rahane marched ahead and brought up his second Test ton with Mohammed Shami for company and soon departed for 103 after being caught and bowled by James Anderson.
Rahane's innings ensured that Indian bowlers will have a decent total to bowl at on the second day.