Photo: Twitter/ @BCCI

Despite playing his first red ball game in more than a year, the versatile KL Rahul adjusted to the format like a duck to water, as he scored a swashbuckling ton to give India the ascendancy in their warm up against the County Select XI at the Riverside Stadium in Durham. 

Playing a three-day warm up game ahead of their Test series against England, the Indian team found themselves in a spot of bother with the score reading 67/3 with the likes of Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal back in the hut. With Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane opting out of this game due to injury concerns, it was KL Rahul who stepped up to the mantle as he initiated the repair job for the team in those middle overs. 

The Punjab Kings captain steadied the ship alongside Hanuma Vihari, as they played out a challenging phase of the game to get the team score past hundred. Vihari fell shortly after, but new man Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul ensured there weren’t any further casualties. The duo stitched together a 127 run partnership to give India the initiative by the end of play. 

Rahul scored 11 fours and a solitary six in his innings, and he emerged as India’s only centurion in the first innings. Despite facing some quality bowling from some of the emerging English talents like Craig Miles and Lyndon James, as well as Delhi Capitals pacer Avesh Khan, the Indian wicketkeeper batsman played confidently while maintaining a healthy scoring rate. 

The 29-year-old was called back to the pavilion after getting his ton, so as to allow some game time for Shardul Thakur and Axar Patel. Rahul’s ton however was enough to put India in command at the end of day’s play, as they finished with a score of 306/9. 

KL Rahul was part of India’s Test squad in the games against Australia and England earlier this year, but couldn’t get a game back then. However, now when presented with the opportunity, the Indian batter showed his prowess by rescuing the team from a precarious position, and seems to have given the perfect audition to challenge for a spot in that middle-order when India’s Test series against England begins on August 4.