KL Rahul has officially joined newcomers Lucknow for the new Indian Premier League season, it was revealed on Friday.

The move was widely expected and has reportedly seen Lucknow spend INR 17 crore (£1.68million) to acquire the India batsman.

Lucknow, who have yet to reveal their full name ahead of the 2022 season, have also signed up Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rahul arrives after leaving Punjab Kings, the team he previously captained in the competition. He scored 626 IPL runs last season at an average of 62.6, including six half-centuries, with only Ruturaj Gaikwad (635) and Faf du Plessis (633) more prolific with the bat.

Rahul blasted the most sixes (30), including eight in one innings of 98 against Chennai Super Kings in October.

Lucknow team owner Sanjiv Goenka said: "KL is not only an outstanding batsman but also a great wicketkeeper.

"Marcus is a great finisher, a good bowler and a phenomenal fielder."

Stoinis has previously been a key figure for Delhi Capitals and Lucknow have spent INR 9.2 crore (£910,000) on the Perth man, according to the Times of India.

Young spinner Ravi Bishnoi has also been signed up after leaving Punjab Kings, as Lucknow's third draft pick.

According to Cricinfo, Goenka told Star Sports: "We want players to be here for three, four, five, six, seven, eight years.

"KL will be the captain. I have been very impressed with not only his batting and wicketkeeping, but also his leadership skills. He is evolving, growing, maturing as a leader. He is somebody I would've wanted to lead the team and I do believe that given the right atmosphere, environment, he will emerge as a remarkable leader."

Former England boss Andy Flower was appointed head coach of Lucknow in December.

Fellow IPL newcomers Team Ahmedabad have picked Hardik Pandya, who will be their captain, alongside Rashid Khan and Shubman Gill in their draft picks.

 

KL Rahul says India must learn from their ODI series defeat to South Africa and suggested "a few" changes could be made when they attempt to avoid a whitewash.

The tourists have been unable to show a positive response to their 2-1 Test series defeat at the hands of the Proteas, suffering back-to-back defeats in the 50-over format.

India posted 287-6 after Rahul won the toss on a searing hot Friday in Paarl, Rishabh Pant top scoring with a swashbuckling 85 off 71 balls and the captain making 55 at the top of the order.

South Africa chased down their target with 11 balls to spare, winning by seven wickets after Janneman Malan (91) and Quinton de Kock (78) laid the foundations with an opening stand of 132.

Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen were both unbeaten on 37, while Bavuma made 35 as the Proteas wrapped up a fourth ODI series win out of five against India, 

Rahul, skippering the side in the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma, stressed that India can use the defeats as part of their development.

He said during the post-match presentation: "They are playing some really good cricket at home and we are making mistakes in the middle. It's good learning for us.

"Obviously it's not great to be on the losing side two games in a row. We're trying to get better at things we haven't done well in the past.

"The middle order is crucial going into a big tournament. We want to get wickets in the middle, create pressure. They showed us the importance of partnerships and the importance of putting pressure on early."

The tourists must regroup ahead of the third and final ODI at Newlands, where they may make alterations to the side.

Rahul said: "I'm not saying it as an excuse but we haven't played 50 overs cricket in a long time. It's been tough on the body, staying in the bubbles. It's challenging, but I'm not saying we don't love challenges.

"[We have to] look ahead to the third game and try to win that one. Maybe a few changes, may not be, I can't say."

Dean Elgar believes giving Kagiso Rabada "a rocket" helped South Africa secure a historic first Test win over India at the Wanderers.

The Proteas levelled the three-match series at 1-1 by achieving their highest successful run chase at the Johannesburg venue on a rain-affected day four.

Captain Elgar led by example with a brilliant unbeaten 96, gaining support from Rassie van der Dussen (40) and Temba Bavuma (23 not out) as South Africa chased down their target of 240 to wrap up a seven-wicket win.

Rabada took three wickets in each innings as South Africa kept the series alive following a first loss to India at SuperSport Park.

Skipper Elgar revealed paceman Rabada was fired up by some home truths.

He said: "With KG there was something that happened behind the scenes but we're not going to get into that. Sometimes KG needs a rocket. You could then almost sense the intensity and focus, he was in the zone.

"The moment he has that attitude he wants to bowl and wants to contribute, you have to use it as a captain. It was awesome to see him fire."

Elgar gave another great demonstration of his fighting spirit in a tenacious and inspiring knock, leading by example at the top of the order.

The opener said: "It's always a privilege to represent your country. I would like to think the knocks I take make me extra motivated to perform. Some would call it stupid and some would call it brave.

"The bigger picture is for us to win. We struggled to get a stable batting line-up and we had to be very patient. We've entrusted those positions to guys we feel can perform those roles and great to see them pull it off."

India's stand-in captain KL Rahul says Virat Kohli should be fit to return in the decider at Newlands after missing the second Test due to a back spasm, while Mohammed Siraj will be monitored after sustaining a hamstring injury.

He said: "Virat is feeling better already, he's been in the nets the last couple of days fielding and running around and I think he should be fine.

"Siraj is starting to feel better each day. A couple of days break might really help him. But we have quality on our bench as well, Ishant [Sharma] and Umesh [Yadav] are waiting.

"Looking forward to Cape Town. We expected every game to be competitive. A loss like this is disappointing but we've always been a team that gets hungrier after a loss."

India's chief selector Chetan Sharma has insisted Virat Kohli was asked to reconsider his decision to step down as the team's T20I captain.

Kohli confirmed before the T20 World Cup that he would leave his role as India skipper in the shortest format, though he does intend to carry on playing in the team.

The 33-year-old also believed he would continue as ODI and Test captain. However, he is now only the skipper for red ball matches, with Rohit Sharma leading the side in limited overs games.

Rohit, however, will not skipper India's white ball side in South Africa, with the batsman missing out due to a hamstring injury, with KL Rahul instead named as captain for the three-match ODI series.

Rahul has never led India before in any format, though he will at least be able to call on the experience of Kohli, who has been included in the 18-man squad and led India to victory in the first Test this week.

While announcing the squad at a news conference on Friday, Chetan was asked if Kohli's claims that he had not been asked to reconsider his decision were true, with those comments having contradicted BCCI president Sourav Ganguly's previous claim.

"When the meeting started, it was a surprise for everybody," Chetan said.

"Because the World Cup is upon you and you hear this news, what will be the reaction of a normal person?

"Everyone who was present in the meeting asked him to reconsider, to rethink; 'We can talk about this after the World Cup'. All the selectors felt this could affect the performance in the World Cup.

"It was told to Virat for the sake of Indian cricket to please continue as captain. It was told to him by everybody available in the meeting. Everybody said that.

"Who will not say that when you hear such news? You will be in shock. What will be your instant reaction? It was a matter of the World Cup.

"We thought let's talk after the World Cup. We told Virat the World Cup is upon us, and everybody requested let's talk after the World Cup.

"But he has his plans. We have to respect his decision. If someone has taken a decision, and he said in the media also, that he was thinking [along these lines] from the time of WTC, but at that time everybody told him to think about it."

Jasprit Bumrah will act as vice captain against the Proteas, while R Ashwin earned a recall for the first time since 2017 and Venkatesh Iyer received his maiden ODI call up.

The ODIs take place on January 19, 21 and 23.


India's squad in full:  KL Rahul (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah (vice-capt), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj.

Mohammed Shami claimed his 200th Test scalp as 18 wickets tumbled on a captivating day three at SuperSport Park that ended with India in control against South Africa.

No play was possible on day two due to rain, but the Proteas made up for lost time by bowling the tourists out for 327 in a dramatic morning session.

The brilliant Lungi Ngidi took 6-71 as India lost seven wickets for 49 runs, KL Rahul falling for 123 and Ajinkya Rahane 48 after they had resumed on 272 in Centurion.

Kagiso Rabada provided great support for his fellow paceman, claiming 3-72, but India quickly shifted the momentum when South Africa started their reply.

Shami was outstanding, helping himself to 5-44 as the Proteas were bowled out for 197 in 62.3 overs, Temba Bavuma top scoring with 52, Quinton de Kock making 34 and Rabada 25.

Jasprit Bumrah (2-16) spent a long spell of the field with a sprained right ankle, but was able to return and end the South Africa innings, while Shardul Thakur chipped in with 2-51.

India closed on 16-1, leading by 146 runs, after Mayank Agarwal edged debutant Marco Jansen behind but Virat Kohli's side are well poised to take a 1-0 lead following a day that saw a record number of wickets fall in a Test at this venue.

 

Ngidi and Rabada tear through tourists

Rabada started the India collapse when he had Rahul caught behind in the fourth over of the day and De Kock took another catch to give Ngidi his fourth wicket, sending Rahane on his way three overs later.

Ngidi had his third five-wicket Test haul as Rishabh Pant could only fend a hostile short ball to Rassie van der Dussen short leg, with Rabada seeing the back of Ravichandran Ashwin and Thakur.

India were all out in a flash when Bumrah became Jansen's first Test victim after the excellent Ngidi drew an edge from Shami and De Kock snaffled a fourth catch. 

Landmark for Shami as Proteas fold

Bumrah struck in the first over of the Proteas' reply, captain Dean Elgar edging behind, before Shami took centre stage.

Keegan Petersen chopped on to the third ball after lunch from Shami, who then produced a peach of a delivery to clean up Aiden Markram.

Shami's impeccable line and length, combined with a touch of movement of the seam, accounted for Bavuma caught behind just after he reached his half-century. Pant took another two catches for the 31-year-old, who became only the fifth Indian paceman to take 200 Test scalps.

The second day of the opening Test between South Africa and India was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to persistent rain at SuperSport Park.

India were set to resume on 272-3 as they looked to build on their promising total on Monday, but heavy downpours meant the umpires called play off after an early lunch had initially been taken.

Improved weather has been forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday in Centurion, though Virat Kohli's side will have to pick up the tempo if they are to build on their start.

Opener KL Rahul will resume on 122 unbeaten when play gets underway again, with Ajinkya Rahane joining him at the crease on 40.

A century from KL Rahul helped India take charge of the first Test in South Africa as the tourists closed day one on 272-3 at SuperSport Park.

After Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to bat, Rahul led the way with a classy innings as Lungi Ngidi (3-45) was the only man to take any wickets.

Rahul spent 12 overs in the 90s before finally reaching three figures and the opener was still there on 122 at stumps.

The stand-in vice-captain and Mayank Agarwal (60) saw India through to lunch on 83-0 as the hosts struggled to get anything out of a flat track in Centurion, ultimately putting on an opening partnership of 117, India's first century opening stand in South Africa since 2010.

However, after waiting over 40 overs for the first wicket, Ngidi claimed two in as many balls by trapping Agarwal lbw after a successful review, before Cheteshwar Pujara was caught by Keegan Petersen at short leg off the next delivery after he got thick inside edge onto his thigh pad.

It was not a sign of things to come though as Kohli came to the crease and added another 82 with Rahul before edging Ngidi to Wiaan Mulder at first slip for 35.

Taking that key wicket also failed to spark South Africa into life, though, as Ajinkya Rahane carried on where Agarwal and Kohli had left off, upping the tempo as India added 115 for the loss of just one wicket in the final session.

Rahul and Rahane (40 not out) ended day one on an unbroken partnership of 73 to put India in a strong position.

Proteas toil in the field

It was an admittedly bad toss to lose for Dean Elgar, but he will still have surely been expecting more than one of his bowlers to get their name in the wicket column on the opening day of the series.

Ngidi worked hard for his three wickets, but Kagiso Rabada (0-51), debutant Marco Jansen (0-61), Mulder (0-49) and Keshav Maharaj (0-58) rarely troubled the India batters.

Patience rewarded for Rahul

To go unbeaten through the first day of a Test match is always an impressive feat, but it was the way Rahul built his innings that was particularly noteworthy.

The 29-year-old took few risks, especially when closing in on three figures, and has now registered a Test hundred against every team he has played at least two games against (Australia, England, Sri Lanka, West Indies and South Africa).

He has faced 248 balls, and might will look to make more hay while the sun shines in Centurion on day two.

KL Rahul says India face a "very, very difficult decision" over who bats at number five in the first Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park.

Rahul, vice-captain in the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma, gave a strong indication that the tourists will persist with playing five bowlers in the Boxing Day Test behind closed doors in Centurion.

He said: "I think more teams have started playing [five bowlers], because, you know, every team wants to pick up 20 wickets, and that's the only way you can win a Test match.

"We've definitely used that tactic, and it's helped us in every Test match that we've played away from India. I think the workload also becomes slightly easier to manage with five bowlers, and when you have that kind of quality, you might as well use it."

India captain Rohit Sharma played a central role as his team clinched a T20I series win over World Cup finalists New Zealand with a clinical seven-wicket victory in Ranchi.

After making a valuable 48 when India won the first game in the three-match series by five wickets on Wednesday, Rohit – who took over from Virat Kohli as T20 captain for this series and seems set to be handed the role on a full-time basis – added a rapid 55 on this occasion as he and KL Rahul produced a century opening partnership.

Chasing New Zealand's 153-6, Rahul plundered 65 from 49 balls and Rohit's runs came from just 36 deliveries, before India withstood a slight stumble to get over the line with 16 balls to spare.

Rishabh Pant finished it off with two sixes at the start of the 18th over, with India getting the job done emphatically at JSCA International Stadium Complex.

New Zealand captain Tim Southee's inspired bowling had accounted for both openers and Suryakumar Yadav, but by that point India were almost home and hosed. Pant and Venkatesh Iyer both finished on 12 not out.

The visitors paid the price for being unable to build on a strong platform of their own, having been 79-1 in the ninth over. Martin Guptill thrashed 31 from 15 balls, perishing to a top edge off Deepak Chahar after striking the same bowler for six from the previous delivery.

Harshal Patel had a strong debut for India and his 2-25 included the wicket of middle-order dangerman Glenn Phillips, who hit three sixes, taking his total to 97 in T20 matches at all levels in 2021, making 34 in 21 balls.

The three-match series concludes in Kolkata on Sunday, with India eyeing a clean sweep.

Rohit and Rahul take game away from Kiwis

Trent Boult dropped Rohit on 29 after he sliced into the on side. A wicket at that point, in the 10th over, might have made a difference, but India's opening pair went on to put on 117 and such a foundation meant the outcome became a foregone conclusion. It means the India openers have equalled the most century partnerships in T20I matches, joining Pakistan's Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan on five.

Super Southee efforts in vain

Southee's salvo came too late to majorly affect the outcome, but his bowling was terrific and figures of 3-16 from four overs matched his fifth-best T20I performance, in what was his 92nd appearance in the short format for the Black Caps.

India kept their hopes of progressing to the T20 World Cup semi-finals alive with an eight-wicket win over Scotland in Dubai.

Virat Kohli turned 33 on Friday, and his team handed the captain a birthday gift with a brilliant display against the minnows.

With New Zealand having beaten Namibia to move onto six points in Group 2, India needed a big win to maintain their slim semi-final hopes.

Kohli won the toss and chose to field, and though George Munsey – who hit a six off the first over – started brightly, his knock of 24 from 19 deliveries was the highest score any Scotland batsman managed.

Scotland were skittled out for just 85, Mohammed Shami finishing with figures of 3-15, identical to those of Ravindra Jadeja, while Jasprit Bumrah took 2-10. Shami began the 17th over with wickets from the first three balls, including a run out.

The bowling performance paved the way for a swift India success, led by the magnificent KL Rahul, who hit 50 from 19 balls before looping a shot down the ground to Calum MacLeod from Mark Watt's enticing delivery.

Rahul's fellow opener Rohit Sharma – aiming to become just the third player to reach 3,000 T20I runs – reached 30 before succumbing lbw to Brad Wheal.

Kohli ticked over two singles before a huge six from Suryakumar Yadav sealed India's success after just 6.3 overs.

Rahul and Rohit sparkle

India's openers raced to the fastest team 50 in the tournament, taking just 23 balls to reach that mark.

Rohit is now just 18 runs short of joining team-mate Kohli and New Zealand's Martin Guptill in the 3,000-runs club, though he may well only have one more shot at that this tournament. His partner Rahul dazzled, hitting three sixes and a further six boundaries in a sensational show of quality.

India need a New Zealand slip-up

There is real jeopardy in Group 2, and a big team will miss out on going any further. Pakistan top the standings with eight points from their four games, so are assured of their place in the semi-finals.

India, who round off their Super 12 campaign against Namibia, are now on four points, two behind New Zealand, but they have a much better run rate of 1.62 compared to 1.28 for the Black Caps, who face Afghanistan (another side on fourth points) in their last game. It is all to play for.

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul made rapid half-centuries as India belatedly got their T20 World Cup campaign up and running with a 66-run defeat of Afghanistan.

Back-to-back hammerings at the hands of fierce rivals Pakistan and New Zealand left India's hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals hanging by a thread.

The pre-tournament favourites needed an emphatic win over Afghanistan to keep themselves in contention, and they finally delivered on a good wicket at Zayed Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

Rohit, back at the top of the order after dropping down to number three against the Black Caps, smashed 74 from 47 balls, and Rahul made a brilliant 69 off 48 as India racked up 210-2 – the biggest total of the tournament.

Rohit and Rahul combined for India's record opening T20 World Cup stand of 140 and the seventh-highest by any side in the history of the tournament, laying the platform for a huge victory in Abu Dhabi.

Hardik Pandya (35 not out) and Rishabh Pant (27no) added insult to injury after Rohit and Rahul fell to Karim Janat and Gulbadin Naib respectively.

Afghanistan, playing their first game since Asghar Afghan retired, fell well short on 144-7 in reply, Ravichandran Ashwin taking 2-14 in his hugely impressive long-awaited T20I return and Mohammed Shami claiming 3-32.

Janat made a quickfire unbeaten 42 and Mohammad Nabi (35) also held India up, but second-placed Afghanistan's semi-finals bid suffered a big setback.

Rahul Dravid was confirmed as India's next head coach while the team went about cruising to a victory that boosted their net run-rate to +0.073, but New Zealand are favourites to qualify from Group 2 alongside Pakistan.

Rohit and Rahul cut loose

India's batsmen had failed to fire in heavy losses to Pakistan and New Zealand, but Rohit and Rahul showed what they are capable of as they resumed their partnership with Ishan Kishan dropping out.

Rohit struck three sixes and found the rope eight times, while Rahul hit two maximums and another six boundaries as he scored a first T20I half-century since last December following eight knocks without one.

Ashwin back in business

All-rounder Ashwin was selected for his first T20I since way back in July 2017, and he made his mark with the ball.

The spinner trapped Gulbadin in his second over and bowled Najibullah Zadran with a delivery that drifted in. Ashwin did not concede a boundary and bowled 12 dot balls in his four overs.

Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan both scored half-centuries as Pakistan recorded their first ever T20 World Cup win over India with a 10-wicket triumph.

India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins – the joint longest streak in the competition.

But Shaheen Afridi (3-31) gave his country early hope as he struck twice to remove both Rohit Sharma for a first-ball duck and KL Rahul (three), with Hasan Ali (2-44) dismissing Suryakumar Yadav (11) to leave India 36-3 at the end of the powerplay.

However, captain Virat Kohli (57) – who has scored the most runs in men's T20I history (3,216) - responded emphatically as he registered his 29th half-century in the format to lift his side to 151-7 at the end of their 20-over allocation.

Kohli's side had lost all eight T20Is in which they posted a first-innings total under 160 since 2018 and that trend looked set to continue as Azam (68 not out) and Rizwan (79 not out) enjoyed a century opening stand inside 13 overs.

The openers motored on as they managed the highest opening partnership ever against India, Azam taking 40 balls to reach his half-century and Rizwan taking one delivery more before the former sealed victory with 13 balls to spare in their first Super 12 Group 2 game.

India's openers struggle

Rohit, who has hit the second-most sixes in the history of the competition (133), offered India experience at the top of the order but his tournament got off to the worst start as he was removed lbw for a golden duck.

His opening partner, Rahul, did not last much longer as the Punjab Kings captain disappointed following warm-up scores of 51 and 39 after his blistering 98 not out in his final IPL 2021 game.

Magical Azam continues remarkable form

In the last three years, no one has scored more T20I runs than Azam's 1,241. Kohli is second on the list, with 1,050.

The Pakistan leader produced a captain's knock to see his side over the line in a famous victory, perfectly kick-starting their World Cup campaign as he smashed six fours and two maximums for his 68.

KL Rahul produced a masterclass as Punjab Kings cruised to a six-wicket Indian Premier League win over Chennai Super Kings to keep their faint play-off hopes alive.

Punjab's net run rate ensured even a huge win would be highly unlikely to give them a chance of sneaking into the play-offs, with Kolkata Knight Riders in pole position for the final spot.

The Kings were theoretically still in the hunt, though, as this match ended, after moving up to fifth place by hammering second-placed Super Kings at the Dubai International Stadium, chasing down their target of 135 with seven overs to spare.

Faf du Plessis made 76 from 55 balls as CSK posted 134-6, Chris Jordan the pick of the bowlers with 2-20 and Arshdeep Singh taking 2-35.

That total was nowhere near enough as Punjab captain Rahul, the leading run-scorer in the tournament, smashed an unbeaten 98 from just 42 deliveries in a stunning knock.

The India opening batsman became the Kings' highest run-scorer in the history of the franchise, showing incredible timing and power to move his side up to fifth place.

KKR faced Rajasthan Royals later in the day knowing their fate was in their hands, with Mumbai Indians only having an outside chance of qualifying ahead of their last league game against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday.

 

Du Plessis one-man show

Du Plessis stepped up as his team-mates failed with the bat, Ravindra Jadeja the second-highest scorer in the CSK innings with 15 not out.

The Super Kings were reeling on 61-5 from 12 overs when MS Dhoni was bowled by Ravi Bishnoi after the returning Jordan and Arshdeep took two wickets apiece.

Former South Africa captain Du Plessis almost carried his bat, eventually falling in the last over from Mohammed Shami after hitting two sixes and eight fours.

Rahul runs riot

It has been an outstanding IPL for Rahul, who holds the orange cap with a competition-high 626 runs from 13 innings at an average of 62.60.

Rahul raced to a half-century in only 25 balls and finished just short of a deserved hundred, clearing the rope eight times and hitting seven fours.

He launched Shardul Thakur, who took 3-28, for six to seal an emphatic win after the bowling of Deepak Chahar and Dwayne Bravo in particular had been taken apart.

Joe Root insisted he should take the blame for England's second Test capitulation against India.

England captain Root again top scored in each of his side's innings, as he did in the series opener at Trent Bridge, including an imperious 180 first time around that put the hosts in the ascendancy.

But it was his leadership in the field that was found wanting, most notably when Mohammed Shami (56 not out) and Jasprit Bumrah (34 not out) put on an unlikely and game-changing partnership of 89 for the ninth wicket as India declared on 298-8 – effectively placing victory out of reach for England with a target of 272.

Root (33) was then the only member of England's top five to reach double figures as openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley both went for ducks, setting the tone for 120 all out and a 151-run victory for India, despite some belated resistance from Jos Buttler (25).

"A lot of this defeat has to come on my shoulders. I could have done things differently this morning and we went from being in a very strong position to being behind the game," Root said at the post-match presentation, Ollie Robinson having left India eight down with their lead still below 200 inside the opening hour.

"I take responsibility for that as captain. I need to learn and be better tactically if we find ourselves in the same position."

England were fired up when Bumrah came to the crease, apparently keen on some retribution after the India paceman gave James Anderson a working over, although Root did not think this was a factor in the game getting away for his men.

"No, I don't think it was it," he replied. "I just got a few things slightly wrong, and credit to them for the way they batted."

India celebrated deliriously as all four of their seamers shone, with Mohammed Siraj (4-32) claiming the key wicket of Buttler and bowling James Anderson to complete the job.

"The intensity is what you expect with two competitive teams," said KL Rahul, named man of the match for his first-innings 129 after Root invited India to bat.

"It only shows how much each team wants to win. We don't mind a bit of banter – and if you go after one of our guys, all 11 of us will come right back at you.

"That got us going and the bowlers were really pumped to go out and have a crack at them."

KL Rahul controlled day one of the second Test at Lord's, helping India move into a commanding position after being put in amid gloomy conditions by England captain Joe Root.

England had James Anderson to call on at the start of the second Test despite concerns over a thigh injury, but another fine spell from the veteran pace bowler provided only brief respite.

Rohit Sharma dug in to make 83 before Anderson (2-52) was able to intervene, while losing Cheteshwar Pujara (nine) did not disrupt Rahul en route to reaching 127 not out.

After pairing with Rohit to put on 126, the opener added 117 with Virat Kohli (42) and was still unbeaten as India reached stumps on 276-3, albeit having by that stage lost their skipper to Ollie Robinson.

The London cloud cover should have made the tourists work, yet rain delays denied England any early momentum and Rohit instead brought up a patient half-century after lunch, India reaching three figures without too many alarms.

Typically, it was Anderson who then provided the much-needed breakthrough, getting a sublime ball to nip back in and clip the top of Rohit's off stump.

Anderson continued to apply the pressure and Pujara survived an lbw review and a narrow escape through the slips. However, when his edge was found again, Jonny Bairstow claimed a simple catch.

India regrouped at tea, however, and the weather cleared to allow Rahul – passing the hundred mark with a four through third man – and captain Kohli to bat late into the final session.

The second new ball and an Anderson-Robinson attack turned up the heat just a little and Kohli edged to opposite number Root, but that dismissal did little to alter the complexion of the day or, seemingly, the match while England's desperation saw another review squandered in the closing stages.

Anderson at the fore again

England have depth in their bowling attack, but they also have plenty of injuries. If Anderson had missed out too, this testing day could have been considerably worse for the hosts.

In his 164th Test, Anderson proved as reliable as ever to offer a glimmer of hope, before Robinson (1-47) finally got in on the act, adding a wicket to the side's most economical bowling figures (2.04 runs per over).

Rahul relishes opportunity

India's batsmen rather failed to build on a promising start in their opening innings of the drawn series opener at Trent Bridge. This time, asked to have a go in conditions that should have suited England's bowlers, they excelled.

Rohit minimised the risks but still tallied 11 fours and a six, before Rahul showed off the wealth of talent India have to offer. He may not even have played if not for Mayank Agarwal's injury yet moved through the gears in impressive fashion to secure a place on the famous honours board from his 212th ball.

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