Mukund lives up to the Lord's challenge
No one was under more pressure than the rookie opener on the third day of the Lord's Test. A replacement for Virender Sehwag, the left-handed opener had huge shoes to fill, but to his credit, he rose to the occasion. Sanjjeev Karan Samyal reports.india Updated: Jul 24, 2011 01:00 IST
No one was under more pressure than the rookie opener on the third day of the Lord's Test. A replacement for Virender Sehwag, the left-handed opener had huge shoes to fill, but to his credit, he rose to the occasion.
The young Tamil Nadu batsman showed no sign of nerves to do his job efficiently, that of taking off the shine off the new ball and laying the platform for the senior batsmen to come in and consolidate.
Batting with confidence and correctness, Abhinav stood up to the England pace bowlers and was unlucky to miss out on his half-century. But his seniors, Sachin Tendulkar & Co, were left mighty impressed by his gritty 49.
The 21-year-old opener, who has built his first-class career on loads of patience and a huge appetite for runs, was being counted as one of the big positives to emerge for the visitors from the game. He showed promise in his debut series in West Indies, but this was the real test. A big game on the biggest stage.
Abhinav outshone his senior partner, Gautam Gambhir, during their opening stand of 63. Showing the intent to take on the England fast bowlers, he was quick to pounce on anything loose on the leg side. After settling down, with strong wristwork, he whipped Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett for three boundaries through the midwicket and square-leg region. So strong was Abhinav on his legs that soon Andrew Strauss was forced to have two men manning that region.
However, the pick of Mukund's boundaries was the straight drive past Broad to move from 42 to 46. He got out to a loose shot, but his hunger for runs is undoubted.
Making his first-class debut for Tamil Nadu as a teenager in 2007, Abhinav averages around 60 from 40 games with 13 centuries, including hundreds on his Ranji and Irani Cup debuts. For someone who was not even a first-choice as the reserve opener, Abhinav has sure grabbed his chances well.