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All square after seesaw day at Lord’s

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Liam Plunkett and, later, M Vijay play the lead roles as India end the third day 145 ahead with six wickets in hand

All square after seesaw day at Lord’s - Cricket News
Murali Vijay acknowledges the crowd after reaching 50.

M Vijay held the Indian second innings together with an unbeaten half-century even as wickets fell around him in a heap on the third day of the Lord’s Test on Saturday (July 19). At close of play, India was 169 for 4, 145 ahead, after having conceded a slim 24-run first-innings lead to England earlier in the day.

The third session started with India on 84 for 1, having lost Shikhar Dhawan after a 45-ball 31 after lunch. But Cheteshwar Pujara (43), Virat Kohli (0) and Ajinkya Rahane (5) fell soon after one another, Liam Plunkett sending back Pujara and Kohli off successive deliveries, to land India in a spot of bother.

Vijay, unbeaten on 59, and MS Dhoni, on 12, however, took India to stumps without more worries.

In the morning, Plunkett was the batting star for England, scoring quickly to reach his maiden Test half-century, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar did his burgeoning reputation no harm by making the Lord’s Honours Board with returns of 6 for 82. Bhuvneshwar added two more wickets to the four he had on the second day to help India peg England back – his wickets on Saturday being those of Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad.

England, resuming at 219 for 6, would have hoped for the kind of rearguard action that saved them the blushes in the second Test, but eventually had Plunkett, who ended unbeaten on a 79-ball 55, and Matt Prior’s 23-run cameo to thank for staying ahead of India.

Plunkett and Prior made it out to the middle with England trailing by 76 runs and looked in no trouble to start with. Both the batsmen dealt with the Indian seamers comfortably before Mohammed Shammi had Prior’s number. Attempting to pull a short delivery, Prior top edged the ball and Dhawan took a smart catch running back from the slip cordon.

Stokes was expected to give England more to work with, but he walked back without disturbing the scorers when a good-length delivery from Bhuvneshwar snuck through his defence to crash into the stumps. One delivery later, Bhuvneshwar had his sixth when he got a thick edge from Broad to carry to Dhawan in the slips.

In the process, Bhuvneshwar also became the first Indian player to take five wickets in an innings in successive Tests in England.

England was 280 for 9 then, still trailing by 15 runs. But Plunkett and Anderson, who scored 19 before gloving a catch to Rahane off Ravindra Jadeja with an attempted reverse sweep, took England ahead.

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