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India powers into position of strength

Chasing 319, England stutters to 105 for 4 after Vijay, Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar steer visitor to 342 in its second innings

India powers into position of strength - Cricket News
Ishant Sharma produced a telling spell with the ball after tea as England stuttered to 105 for 4.
Ravindra Jadeja brought a whiff of IPL flavour to Lord’s, and the bowlers then responded admirably as India got itself into a commanding position at the end of the penultimate day of the second Test on Sunday (July 20). England, set 319 for victory after India was finally bowled out for 342, was reeling at 105 for 4 at stumps, with Joe Root and Moeen Ali at the crease. Jadeja was far from being a lone hero though. M Vijay’s watchful 95, which spanned 376 minutes and 247 balls, was the rock on which the innings was built and there was yet another fluent half-century from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who became the third player after Ian Botham and Richard Hadlee to score a half-century and take a five-wicket haul in consecutive Tests.
 
With the ball, Ishant Sharma produced a telling spell after tea, while Mohammed Shami snagged the wicket of Gary Ballance with the first ball of a new spell. MS Dhoni rotated his bowlers often, with Jadeja tried from both ends. The quicker bowlers also tried different lines of attack, and on the whole, they maintained the kind of discipline that had eluded England earlier in the day.
 
India, 145 ahead, had begun in circumspect fashion, with Dhoni taking 17 balls to score his first runs of the day. Vijay was more proactive, but runs were hard to come by in the first hour. Dhoni’s morning vigil lasted 52 minutes before Liam Plunkett induced an edge through to Ian Bell at second slip. His 19 had taken up 86 balls, and when Stuart Binny followed soon after, India was in real strife, six down and just 179 in front.
 
Binny tried to smack the ninth ball he faced, from Ali, down to long-off. He didn’t connect cleanly enough, and Alastair Cook took a superb catch on the run from mid-off. Vijay and Jadeja took 20 off the final two overs with the old ball, and the scoreboard had moved on to 225 for 6 when James Anderson was handed the new cherry.
 
Vijay, within touching distance of a place on the Honours Board, had shown tremendous judgment of what to play and leave right through his marathon innings, but when Anderson got a hint of away movement, he couldn’t resist flirting with the ball. Prior held the edge. 
 
England’s position would have been even better if Root had held on to a tough chance at fourth slip after Bhuvneshwar had a flail at Ben Stokes. After that, the strokes cascaded from both bats. Jadeja clubbed both Anderson and Stuart Broad straight back down the ground, and also pulled and drove with real confidence. Bhuvneshwar wasn’t hesitant to steer the ball over the slips, or through them, but he also played some gorgeous strokes through cover and midwicket.
 
It took Jadeja just 42 balls to make his 50, and he had rampaged to 68 from 56 balls when he miscued a pull off Stokes. This time, the steepler was behind the stumps and again it was Cook, running from slip, that pouched it safely. By then, the partnership was worth 99 from 100 balls.
 
Bhuvneshwar got to his half-century from just 65 balls, soon after Shami had tickled one behind, and was last man out when he edged Stokes to the slip cordon.
 
England had only once chased more than 319 to win a Test – in Melbourne in January 1929, the second Test for a certain Donald George Bradman – and its pursuit got off to a poor start as Sam Robson was given out leg before to Jadeja. It was the first ball of his spell, with Dhoni having thrown him the ball as early as the seventh over.
 
Cook and Ballance settled things down somewhat though, using their wits to survive even as Jadeja extracted both sharp turn and bounce. Vijay’s part-time spin was also employed, but it was only when Dhoni turned back to pace that the breakthrough came.
 
Ballance hung his bat out at the first ball he faced from Shami, and the sense of gloom in the dressing room soon intensified as Bell was cleaned up by a full delivery from Ishant that kept quite low. Minutes later, from round the wicket, Ishant had Cook edging behind. Cook made 22 and hasn’t now batted 100 balls in a Test innings since Perth last December.
 
Ali survived a vociferous leg-before shout off Jadeja when he had made 11, and was then put down by Dhoni when he had 15. Despite those glitches, it was India that finished the day much the happier.

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