|Ground:||Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood|
|Scorecard:||England v India|
|Event:||India in England 2014|
DateLine: 19th July 2014
By Andy Jalil at Lord's In association with INVESTEC
London – Murali Vijay held the India innings together with a gallant effort at the crease over four-and-three-quarter-hours which took him to an unbeaten 59 and India to 169 for four, leading by 145 runs at stumps on the third day. The tourists will need to extend the lead substantially if they are to put pressure on England in the fourth innings.
With a first innings lead of 24, England claimed the first wicket on the total of 40 with an early bowling change as Ben Stokes replaced Stuart Broad and in his third over he had Shikhar Dhawan held at point by Joe Root. It was a firmly struck cut and Root did well to dive to his left to hold the catch.
Vijay and Chesteshwar Pujara formed a useful second wicket stand after Dhawan’s dismissal. Vijay was more defensive while his partner played shots when the ball was there to be hit. Both batsmen were well set but just when it seemed a threat to England of a big partnership developing Liam Plunkett struck with the wicket of Pujara and with his next ball he removed Virat Kohli.
Pujara’s stroke-play had brought him seven fours in his score of 43 as England bowlers strove hard for a breakthrough which came when Plunkett moved a ball just enough away from the batsman to take the outside edge for a catch behind. Once again as in the previous innings, Pujara had spent considerable time at the crease without putting together a big enough score. In the first innings he had 28 after nearly three hours, this time his innings was just over two hours.
For the next wicket Plunkett achieved movement in the other direction. He brought the ball in and late as Kohli shouldered arms only to see the top of the off stump clipped. Undoubtedly a superb batsman, Kohli has struggled for form in the series with his four innings so far bringing him scores of 1, 8, 25 and 0.
Having been reduced to 118 for three India were unlucky with the next wicket as replays showed clearly the ball from Stuart Broad had come off Ajinkya Rahane’s forearm guard when the wicketkeeper Matt Prior made good ground to hold the catch in the position of backward square leg. Rahane had gone for 5 and India innings from 118 for one was reduced to 123 for four in a space of just nineteen balls.
While the four wickets fell, Vijay kept scoring steadily in the final session of play and brought up his sixth Test half century from 162 balls with fours from consecutive balls off James Anderson. The first was driven to mid-off and then a clip to long leg.
Earlier, England added a hundred runs to their total after resuming their first innings on 219 for six. The credit for the lower order in scoring those runs would go mainly to Plunkett who hit his unbeaten maiden Test half century. He took his overnight score of 4 to 55 not out, from 79 balls, when the innings was wound up with James Anderson held for 19 a little under half-an-hour before lunch.
Prior to that, Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed two wickets to add to the four he had on the previous day and finished with impressive figures of six for 82. It was his best return in Tests beating his previous best of five for 82 in previous Test at Nottingham. After Mohammed Shami had taken the first wicket to fall, having Matt Prior edge to slip for 23 and breaking the 51-run stand for the seventh wicket, Kumar bowled Stokes and then two balls later had Broad caught at slip for 4. Both slip catches were taken by Dhawan.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2014 Andy Jalil)