India opener KL Rahul appears to have struck a rich vein of form. In front of a capacity crowd at the "home of cricket", Rahul on Thursday notched up his sixth Test ton to put India in the driver's seat on the opening day of the second Test versus hosts England.
In an innings laced with nine fours and a maximum, Rahul nudged Mark Wood's delivery to third man boundary, reaching the three-figure mark in the third and final session of the day.
Rahul played the perfect second-fiddle when his partner Rohit Sharma was inching towards maiden overseas Test ton. After James Anderson removed Rohit for 83 and then plucked Cheteshwar Pujara just before Tea, Rahul took on a central role in the third and final session, notching his third ton against England. The 29-year-old's last ton against England was in 2018 where he had ended up scoring 149 at the Oval.
Rahul had also struck a fine 84 in the first Test at Trent Bridge. The Karnataka batsman's purple patch will be a big relief for the team management after he lost his place from the Test side due to a prolonged rough patch.
The right-hander, who was initially in the mix as a middle-order option, replaced injured Mayank Agarwal at the top and flaunted his versatility against the red cherry.
Rahul also became the third Indian opener after Vinoo Mankad (184) and Ravi Shastri to notch up a Test ton at the iconic Lord's. He also joined Virender Sehwag in the list of most hundreds by an Indian opener in Tests outside India. Sunil Gavaskar heads the list with 15 tons. Sehwag and Rahul, with four hundreds each, are tied second, followed by Mankad and Shastri (3 centuries each) on the third spot.
Earlier on the day, Rohit's batting show helped India gain an early advantage. The senior India opener put up a century stand with Rahul, negating the English pacers in overcast conditions. The two added 126-run opening stand before Anderson's in-swinging delivery castled Rohit.
After the first Test that ended in a draw, Rahul had said that he was happy to get his opportunity in England after a "frustrating" stint with India in red-ball cricket. He has so far scored over 2000 runs in Test cricket with the highest score of 199.
"From the last 2-3 series (away vs Australia and vs England in India), I have been sitting outside. The team was doing really well and I was very happy to be part of the team and seeing how we were beating teams in India and then Australia.
"So it was great to be part of it, but also very frustrating that opportunities weren't coming. It was only practise, practise and practise and as a player you want to be in the middle and want to challenge yourself, so I kept waiting for my opportunity, so I am very happy that it came in England," Rahul had said at the post-match presser.