Opener KL Rahul struck his fourth Test century to lead India’s strong reply to England’s 477 all out on the third day of the fifth Test against England on Sunday. (Live blog)
The 24-year-old, who played his first eight Tests outside the country and reached his first fifty-plus score at home in the morning, reached triple figures with three runs following an overthrow into the post-lunch session. (Scorecard)
Rahul and stand-in opener Parthiv Patel had put on a record partnership for India against England at home – bettering the 135 put on by Sunil Gavaskar and Farokh Engineer at Mumbai in 1973 --- after Murali Vijay could not open due to a bruised shoulder suffered while fielding on Saturday.
Patel was out before lunch for a career-best 71 after he miscued off-spinner Moeen Ali and then Ben Stokes removed Cheteshwar Pujara soon after lunch, having him caught at slip for 16.
Rahul, playing in his 12th Test, batted with authority, after dispatching debutant left-arm spinner Liam Dawson for big sixes to get him off the attack early in the day. With Patel too playing positively at the other end, Rahul attacked pacer Stuart Broad as well as off-spinner Moeen Ali on a flat MA Chidambaram Stadium pitch.
The pair raised a 151-run partnership, the best by India’s openers in this series, before Patel miscued a flick off off-spinner Moeen Ali to Jos Buttler at point.
The Karnataka batsman has shown his quality since he scored a century in his second Test in Sydney on the 2014-15 tour, and has also overcome the role as a third opener in the squad, stepping up whenever Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan were not available.
He has sealed his spot with Vijay following solid performances. He scored a century on last year’s Sri Lanka tour, 108 in the second Test in Colombo after coming into the eleven in place of the injured Shikhar Dhawan.
However, his 158 in the second Test in Kingston on this year’s West Indies tour, after being picked in place of the injured Vijay, convinced the team management he can’t be denied a regular spot in the side.
But he has had to wait till his fourth match in the current home season, his first Tests at home and the fourth innings, to get a half-century. He suffered a hamstring injury while batting in his first game at home, against New Zealand in Kanpur, and missed the next two Tests.
He returned in the second Test against England In Visakhapatnam, but fell to Stuart Broad for 0 and 10 as the England paceman exploited his uncertainty outside off-stump, caught at third slip and by the keeper.
In Mumbai, he was out for 24 in the only innings, bowled trying to drive off-spinner Moeen Ali against the spin.
However, the Chennai innings saw his compact technique outside off-stump with only Stokes managing to get reverse swing, which got Pujara.
India lead the series 3-0.