The 2nd Test match between India and England is evenly poised even if the visitors have lost three wickets in quick succession but only to fight back through.
The 2nd Test match between India and England is evenly poised even if the visitors have lost three wickets in quick succession but only to fight back through Murali Vijay’s gutsy half-century to take their overall lead to 145, here at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
At stumps on third day, India were 169-4 despite a solid 78-run second wicket stand between Vijay (59 batting) and Cheteshwar Pujara (43).
Now Vijay is in company of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who survived a hostile spell from Stuart Broad to remain undefeated on 12 off 51 balls having added crucial 46 runs with Vijay for the fifth wicket. The Tamil Nadu opener has shown tremendous patience during his 190-ball knock which had seven fours but more impressive was his decisiveness while leaving deliveries outside the off-stump.
With England batting deep, it will be interesting to see what kind of target is set by the Indian batsmen. India will be aiming for a lead of 250-plus in order to make a match of it on a Lord’s track which will then help Bhuvneshwar Kumar & Co to exploit the conditions. It was 6-82 was the main reason for India getting England out for 319 in their first innings thereby restricting the first innings lead to 24.
For England, it was Liam Plunkett, who started the collapse by first inducing a nick from Pujara, who again looked good for a big knock. But the biggest shock came from none other than Virat Kohli who had an error in judgement which cost him dearly as the delivery he left jagged back enough to clip the bails. From a relatively comfortable 118 for one, India were reduced to 123 for four in a space of three overs.
First innings centurion Ajinkya Rahane then got a howler from umpire Bruce Oxenford as a rising delivery from Stuart Broad hit his arm-guard before lobbing up as Matt Prior ran from his position to dive forward and complete a catch.
Shikhar Dhawan (31) again got a start but failed to convert it into a big score leaving his place in the playing XI for the third Test under scanner. Vijay and Dhawan batted on an eased out pitch as they wiped out the deficit by the seventh over. Dhawan hit four boundaries but a flashy shot off Ben Stokes brought about his downfall with Joe Root taking the catch at point.
Even as skipper MS Dhoni stabilised the Indian innings, India and England are on even note going into the fourth day of the 2nd Test match. A score of 250-plus will be a challenging one but English batsmen know the conditions well and might go in as ‘favourites’ into this tie.