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Jul 13, 2014
By Abhijit Banare
Stuart Binny (26 not out) and Ravindra Jadeja (18 not out) steered India to 230 for six at lunch on Day Five of the first Test against England at Trent bridge. After losing three early wickets under overcast conditions, India had to bat for time to escape a possible defeat. The lead for India is 191 with two more sessions left in the match.
For the first time in the match, pacers looked dominating on a bowling-friendly wicket. The irony is that, such a condition came on the fifth day of the match. England should be given full credit for preparing the ball in the last session on the fourth day which allowed them to reverse it early on the final day. It was a battle for spending time at the crease and score runs too for the Indians. James Anderson, Stuart Broad and the entire team were aiming for a victory.
Under overcast conditions, the duo tested overnight batsmen Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. The plan was very evident, keep it full and aim for the stumps. With the ball going past the edge more often, the batsmen had a cautious look on their faces. It was Broad who finally struck, not once but twice removing both Kohli and Rahane. The strategy to keep things fuller worked as Kohli was done in by the one that reversed in to him and was caught plumb in front. An over later, Rahane too was caught behind for 24 which was enough for England to sniff a victory.
Stat: This is the longest innings played by Jadeja in Tests. The most he faced before this was 49 balls against New Zealand
With two strokeplayers in MS Dhoni and Jadeja around, England pressed for more wickets. Cook looked much proactive in his captaincy getting the fielders in attacking positions. Ian Bell was placed at a short slip which showed Cook’s hunger to attack. Eventually, it was the captain who gifted a reprieve to Dhoni dropping a regulation catch off Broad at first slip when he was on five. Dhoni was used to such pressure situations but Jadeja clearly appeared new to these challenges. He dragged his bat around against Anderson and failed to get anything confidently from the middle of his bat. Perhaps that was the reason for charging down to Anderson in Tests under overcast conditions. After 37 deliveries, he finally managed to connect one and get off the mark with a four. Predictably, Anderson gave a smirky smile applauding Jadeja’s effort. By the time the left-hander scored his first run, England had grabbed one more wicket with their smart strategy of pitching it up.
Liam Plunkett, who had been on the shorter side for most part of his match finally got one fuller and breached the defence of Dhoni. With just 17 runs on board this morning, India had lost three key middle order batsmen. Binny walked in at a precarious stage hoping to make a difference on debut. After being ignored with the ball during the England innings, this was Binny’s chance to impress and he did it solidly. Since morning, he has been the only batsman who has played the pacers comfortably and most significant of all, scored runs briskly.
Binny though could’ve ended being involved in two run-outs on debut when Jadeja tried to sneak a third run a somehow managed to scrape through. India looked more and more reassured as these two progressed steadily. While Binny played a fine innings, Jadeja too needs to be credited for maintaining his patience. The England pacers did set up the field to force Jadeja to go for the big shots which he resisted playing after getting off the mark. In the process, he went past an interesting personal milestone. This is the longest innings played by Jadeja in Tests. The most he faced was 49 balls against New Zealand.
Both Binny and Jadeja would be happy with their efforts and the positive intent in the last half hour has put this match back on course for a draw.
India 457 (Murali Vijay 146, MS Dhoni 82, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 58, Mohammed Shami 51*; James Anderson 3 for 123, Stuart Broad 2 for 53) & 230 for 6 (Murali Vijay 52, Cheteshwar Pujara 55; Stuart Broad 2 for 42, Moeen Ali 2 for 41) lead England 496 (Sam Robson 59, Gary Ballance 71, Joe Root 154*, James Anderson 81; Ishant Sharma 3 for 150, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 5 for 82) by 191 runs.
(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)
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