Murali Vijay scored 146 runs © Getty Images
By Abhijit Banare
Jul 10, 2014
India defied a spirited performance form England pacers to score 83 runs in the first session of the second morning at Trent Bridge on Thursday. Overnight batsmen Murali Vijay and MS Dhoni were off to a solid start sharing a 126-run fifth wicket stand. India are on 342 for five at lunch losing the wicket of Vijay for 146. After a cautious start, the batsmen scored more freely after the first hour of play with the wicket not offering anything for the bowlers.
The sports pages of newspapers in England were filled with debate over the batting wicket gifted to Indians at Trent Bridge. England’s senior pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad had still not surrendered to the fate. They bowled in the right areas and got a little more assistance from the wicket which made for an interesting contest.
The first big opportunity came in the third over of the day when Dhoni went for a drive with his typical lack of footwork. The outside edge was dropped by Matt Prior diving to his right. On a pitch like this, dropping Dhoni was the last thing England would’ve thought of. But the pacers bowled their hearts out. Compared to Anderson, it was Broad who looked more effective. Dhoni looked circumspect against good length deliveries pitched outside off. It was a suffocating first session but a strokeplayer like Vijay was always going to break free.
With more than 30 per cent of his runs coming through point and thirdman, Vijay didn’t take much time to increase the scoring with the same technique. Towards the end of first hour of play, Vijay was taking his chances cutting and slashing past point. For some reason, it took some time for Cook to use his fielders more productively with Moeen Ali standing idle at deep backward square-leg. However, Vijay continued to hog the limelight with sweetly timed shots. The wristy flicks, the solid defence, glide towards thirdman, Vijay looked graceful even though the strike rate was hardly anything to be proud of. On the other end Dhoni was grinding the pacers down. The highlight of Dhoni’s batting was a more efficient presentation of footwork compared to the last time he toured here. As a result not many of the balls were edged behind the wicket.
England’s relief came half an hour before lunch when Anderson struck with the wicket of Vijay. The right-hander was cautiously progressing to his third 150+ score in Test when he failed to connect one that jagged back in from good length. Vijay’s marathon innings saw him score 146 in 361 balls sharing a 126-run fifth wicket stand with Dhoni. Replays showed that the ball would’ve passed over the stumps and the absence of DRS once again costing India.
There was some excitement towards the end of the session with the kind of batsmen on the crease. While Dhoni had promised not to curb his attacking instincts in Tests, Jadeja has remained the same right through. The left-hander who walked ahead of debutant Stuart Binny welcomed Moeen Ali with two sixes hit straight over his head. The aggression and quick running between the wickets gave a few opportunities for England, but from India’s point of view, the runs were flowing more easily. Jadeja and Dhoni added 38 in six overs before going in to break.
India 342 for 5 (Murali Vijay 146, MS Dhoni 81*; James Anderson 3 for 95) vs England.
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(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)