Gary Ballance scored his second Test ton © Getty Images
Gary Ballance scored his second Test ton © Getty Images

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Jul 18, 2014

India and England have engaged themselves in an interesting tussle in the second Test at Lord’s. On Day Two, India were bowled out for 295 and in reply, England finished at 219 for six. Gary Ballance was the star with the bat, getting his second Test ton and Bhuvneshwar Kumar took four out of the six English wickets to fall.

It was a day when there was an even contest between bat and ball. However, England had walked themselves into a good position in the final session with Moeen Ali and Ballance batting with great application and concentration. From a spot of bother, England went closer to the Indian total. India did hit back late in the day, with Murali Vijay picking his maiden Test wicket by trapping Ali leg-before and later, Ballance was taken by Bhuvneshwar.

Coming into this day with an overnight score of 290 for five, India could only add five runs to their total before Mohammed Shami was dismissed in the second over. India started off with some help for the seamers in the surface.

Through the day, it was largely attritional cricket. The bowlers were moving it earlier and the openers started cautiously. Early in the innings, Sam Robson edged one to Ajinkya Rahane at slip, but it was grassed. Alastair Cook’s poor run of form continued as he edged Bhuvneshwar to MS Dhoni. Soon after,  even Robson followed when he poked at one outside the off-stump.

Bhuvneshwar bowled a long spell early in the day and was in command. He moved it away from the right handers and also got a few to come back in. Ian Bell and Balance started off gradually, but after lunch, Bell was gone when Bhuvneshwar surprised him with one that climbed and took his glove to third-slip.

Balance gradually found his form. Having spent a lot of time in the middle, he had a fair measure of the conditions. He gave once chance though, when Stuart Binny came on and induced an edge. However, Dhoni and Shikhar Dhawan, standing at first slip made no attempt and it went for four. Even though Root did not last long, Balance continued and at 113 for four, Moeen joined him in the middle.

Moeen started positively by smashing his first ball for four, but was largely quiet after that. Balance played some fantastic shots through the off-side and increased his scoring rate. As the day came to a close, he got to his second Test ton at Lord’s in as many games. But then came India’s surge at the end.

The 98-run stand was broken in the most unexpected fashion when Vijay trapped Moeen leg-before for 32, to take his first Test wicket. England opted to send Liam Plunkett as the night-watchman to protect Prior. However, the wicketkeeper batsman had to come out as Balance tickled one down the leg-side and was taken by Dhoni for 110.

Brief scores:

India 295 (Ajinkya Rahane 103, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 36; James Anderson 4 for 60, Stuart Broad 2 for 79, Ben Stokes 2 for 40) lead England 219 for 6 (Gary Ballance 110, Moeen Ali 32; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4 for 46) by 76 runs.

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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)