Home > News >

India vs England 2014, 2nd Test at Lord’s Day 3: Liam Plunkett strikes, Murali Vijay holds firm

Murali Vijay gave stability to Indian batting in the Tour of England © Getty Images
Murali Vijay gave stability to Indian batting in the tour of England © Getty Images

By Arunabha Sengupta

Lord’s: Jul 19, 2014

As the day grew older, the sun got brighter streaming into the media centre making the press men in the front row squint to view their laptop screens. The sky was a wide expanse of blue with the occasional dab of harmless, friendly white fluff. And as the field was baked by the heat, the match that was served up simmering and spicy was fit for the gourmets among cricketing gods.

Ben Stokes bowled a probing spell just after tea, bringing the ball back into the batsmen, drawing a false stroke or two, striking Cheteshwar Pujara painfully on the hand. But the Indian No 3 came back strongly, cutting him between gully and point for four. In the next over from the red headed pacer, Murali Vijay drove through the covers, languid and graceful in the midst of his ascetic restraint. The hundred was up. He followed it up with a steer played late to third man, the touch soothing and elegant. In the press box, Julian Guyer of AFP remarked, “It’s amazing. This bloke can’t make up his mind whether he is Sanjay Bangar or Mohammad Azharuddin.”

In the refreshment area of the Media Centre stood the man who could have been an invaluable asset to the England side. Graeme Swann seemed to be enjoying himself in his role as a commentator, looking cheerful as he sat at a table, while his teammates rued the lack of a quality spinner. The hours of application was bearing fruit. Runs were flowing freer, Pujara chopping Anderson down to thirdman for four. Fortune was also siding staunchly with the Indians. A faint touch of wood off Stuart Broad ran away to the fine leg boundary adding four to Pujara’s score.

And then Liam Plunkett struck twice at the blink of an eye, bringing England right back into the game. The ball moved slightly away, Pujara pushed away from his body and Matt Prior threw up the catch. All the four innings so far has seen the Saurashtra batsman bat for long periods, planting every seed of patience, without going on to reap the harvest in full.  This time he walked back for 43 scored over two hours.

Virat Kohli walked in to a hero’s welcome from the Indians in the crowd. The next delivery slid in off the slope, Kohli shouldered arms, and the stumps were shattered. The confounded Indian vice-captain stood there for a while, unable to believe his eyes, ears or judgement. The score stood at 118 for three, the lead 94. The England bowlers ran in with a new and vigorous shot in the arm. Every time there was a hint of swing, the slips went up with agonised howls.

Ajinkya Rahane, fresh from his first innings hundred, walked in to save the hat-trick. He did so without much trouble and opened his innings with a steered boundary down to thirdman. And then Broad came charging in, pitching short and at the body. The ball shot up, took Rahane’s arm guard and went up in the air. Prior came running from behind the wicket towards backward square leg, flung himself forward and held it inches from the ground. The batsman could not believe it when Bruce Oxenford raised his finger. Three wickets had been lost for five runs in the space of 19 balls. It was 123 for four.

MS Dhoni opened his account with a cut over the slips for four. The following ball saw him walking down the wicket, Broad pitched short and the batsman evaded the ball in his walk, turning towards extra-cover. Later in the over he allowed a short of length ball hit him just above the elbow without offering a shot. The Indian captain did not rub his arm. There was plenty of guts on show, but standing on outrageous methods. He kept living in dangerous inaction. Twice he let Plunkett deliveries hit his pad, and vociferous appeals were turned down. But, with luck and tenacity he managed to survive the hostile combination of Broad and Plunkett. When Broad pitched up, he drove him down the ground for four.

At the other end Vijay was the same spartan self, stripping his game of the trappings and frills that bodedill. When Anderson replaced Broad from the Pavilion end, he drove him uppishly through the covers for four. He clipped the next one to fine leg for four to bring up his half century in over four hours, off 162 balls; an innings of incredible character. With fast bowlers operating, the bowling rate was slow. England were still 13 overs short when the clock ticked over to six. With the match situation being what it was, the comic relief provided by Moeen Ali were not about to be invoked.

Ben Stokes replaced Plunkett after his spectacular spell of two for 11 from seven overs.Dhoni negotiated him somewhat more comfortably, without invoking those unorthodox ploys. As minutes ticked by, India played for stumps, the shadows of the floodlight over the Warner Stand stretched over the pitch. With every ball bowled the Indian supporters held their breath, especially when the captain squared up to face. The last few overs by Anderson was bowled with the ball well hidden, striving to get that reverse swing. Vijay played him with the straightest of bats, only when it veered into the stumps.

With six minutes to go, Plunkett was brought back. And Dhoni again wandered in the direction of extra cover, and it missed the leg stump by a whisker. The bowler stood, his hands on his head. The crowd gasped. Dhoni pushed the next ball for a single and there was a sigh of relief in the Indian parts of the ground. Vijay played the remaining four balls with the same calm assurance that had been his signature throughout the innings. There was general relief among the Indian press contingent as Moeen was seen ambling in to bowl the final over.

At the end of the day India stood at 169 for four, Vijay on 59 from 190 balls, having batted for four hours and 44 minutes. It has been a knock to go down in the cricketing annals in characters of pure gold. Dhoni had also managed to survive, batting on 12 from  51, having spent 71 minutes at the crease with some luck and plenty of guts. The partnership has been worth 46 and has pulled India back again after three big middle-order wickets threatened to put England on top. The lead is 145.

There is still no real clear leader in the match. Again, much will depend on the way the exchanges pan out during the first hour tomorrow. The weather forecast, which had bizarrely predicted storm and hail today, shows lovely sunshine on the morrow and on Monday. This glorious game deserves nothing less.

Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry.He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

Afghanistan tour of UAE, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Dubai

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

Phil Hughes passes away: Video tribute

Phillip Hughes passes away: Let us bring Sean Abbott back on track

Phil Hughes and other cricketers who succumbed to on-field injuries

Phillip Hughes 7th-youngest Test cricketer to die

Phillip Hughes: A brief look at the career of one of Australia’s most promising talents

Phillip Hughes: Rest in peace

Australia England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 Phil Hughes Phil Hughes Death Phil Hughes head injury Phillip Hughes

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 4th ODI at Dhaka

Live Streaming: Pakistan vs New Zealand, 3rd Test at Sharjah, Day 2

Live Scorecard: Pakistan vs New Zealand, 3rd Test at Sharjah, Day 2

Phillip Hughes passes away: Google Australia dedicates doodle

Phillip Hughes passes away: Cricket fans in Karachi hold candlelight vigils

Henry Blofeld: Nephew of an England captain?

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: Pakistan top-order prevails once again

Prakash Bhandari: The teenage prodigy BCCI could not capitalise on

Phil Hughes: Remembering his most memorable knocks

Phillip Hughes passes away: Kolkata is where Kolkata was

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Alia Bhatt or Shraddha Kapoor: Who can play Jennifer Lawrence’s role if Mockingjay is remade in Bollywood?

सुबह गुनगुना पानी पीने के छह फ़ायदे

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

सर्दी के दिनों में त्वचा को स्वस्थ रखने के कुछ सरल उपाय

Ungli movie review: Emraan Hashmi, Randeep Hooda let down by predictable and contrived plot

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here