LONDON: KL Rahul did all the hardwork in a fine opening partnership but missed out on a half-century as India went into lunch at 108 for one on the third day of the fourth Test against England, here on Saturday.
Rahul (46) added 83 runs with Rohit Sharma (47 batting) before James Anderson (1/28) bowled a peach of delivery that rose from full length and got a faint edge that went straight into the gloves of Jonny Bairstow.
Rahul wasn’t happy about the decision as he gestured that the spike in ball tracker was his bat hitting the pad.
However, the replays suggested that it was a correct decision.
Giving Rohit company at lunch was Cheteshwar Pujara (14 batting).
India now have a lead of nine runs, having wiped off the deficit of 99 but would certainly be wary of the back-to-back batting collapses in the Leeds Test (78 all out and 63/8) in their bid to post a good total.
The aim would be to at least leave England with a victory target in excess of 225 which might give Virat Kohli’s speedsters good enough time to come all guns blazing in the fourth innings on a track that could show some cracks.
Rahul and Rohit displayed good application under overcast conditions against the troika of Anderson, Ollie Robinson (0/41) and Chris Woakes (0/24), who was the best of the lot.
Like most times during this series, Rohit played with soft hands and close to the body leaving most of the deliveries outside the off-stump but did not forget to punish the odd loose balls.
Rohit hit a straight drive off Anderson and Rahul took it upon himself to repeat that shot off Woakes.
Rahul for good measure cover drove Robinson for a boundary and then hooked him for a six.
But there was some anxious moments as Robinson got one to angle in and the on-field umpire ruled him leg before only to be successfully reviewed.
Once Rahul was out, Anderson provided Rohit with an over-pitched delivery that was dispatched through the cover region and also pulled Craig Overton for another four.
On either side of that boundary, Pujara hit an off-drive and square cut off Robinson and Overton respectively.
And at the stroke of lunch, pulled Moeen Ali for a boundary to give India the lead.