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Eng vs Ind second Test | Pujara, Rahane steady India innings

Only 49 runs came in the 28 overs bowled in the session but, most importantly, for India, they did not lose a wicket.

Searching desperately for runs, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane put up a dogged resistance against a probing England attack to take India to 105 for three at tea on day four of the second Test.

The two senior batsmen, who have been out form for a while alongside skipper Virat Kohli, shared a valuable stand for the fourth wicket to steady the Indian innings after the visitors lost their top three for 56 runs by lunch. India led by 78 runs at the break.

Both Pujara (29 off 148) and Rahane (24 off 74) batted for survival for a major part of the second session before finding some welcome runs. Only 49 runs came in the 28 overs bowled in the session but, most importantly, for India, they did not lose a wicket.

Rahane hit a couple of boundaries which included a pull shot off Ollie Robinson while there was a loud cheer from the crowd when Pujara played his 100th ball with only 12 runs to his name.

The cheer got louder when he got his first boundary, a flick off Mark Wood, off his 118th delivery.

Like he had done successfully with Rohit Sharma in the opening session, Wood tried to bounce out Pujara with a barrage of short balls, but the Saurashtra strongman was up for the challenge.

Spinner Moeen Ali had a lot of bowling to do in the session with the odd ball turning in sharply or keeping low on a deteriorating pitch.

In the morning session, India felt the heat on a sunny Lord’s morning as Wood removed their in-form openers before Kohli was caught behind to leave the visitors gasping at 56 for three at lunch.

The Indian openers K L Rahul and Rohit Sharma, who made up for the middle-order’s prolonged failure so far in the series, could not bat long on this occasion.

Like skipper Joe Root did for England, the onus was on Kohli to score a big one and bring his team back into the game but he could not do so.

Kohli (20 off 31) made a promising start before poking at a wide Sam Curran delivery to leave his team in deeper trouble at the stroke of lunch.

Pujara, who, too, is in desperate need of runs, took 35 balls to get off the mark.

Root introduced Wood rather early in the session with the ball not doing much in the air. Having the advantage of extra pace, Wood hit the deck hard to trouble the batsmen.

He got rid of first-innings centurion Rahul (5 off 30) with a back of a length delivery that straightened slightly to take the outside edge, leaving the batsmen stuck in the crease.

Rohit (21 off 36) once again looked in sublime touch before falling to the pull shot for the second time in the series. Having pulled Wood for a six, Rohit went for another one in the same over but failed to control the shot, to be caught at deep backward square.

Considering the game situation, the shot was avoidable but Rohit has made it clear that he will go for his strokes if the ball lands in his “areas”.

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