Lunch report: India dented after defiant Vihari-Jadeja stand
Hanuma Vihari became the 26th Indian to register a 50-plus score on India debut. (Getty Image)

In a series, where not more than four Indian players were able to go past the 50-run mark, Hanuma Vihari stood tall with a half-century on Test debut. For the first time, India’s lower-order batted with resistance and determination, with Vihari, along and his partner Ravindra Jadeja forging a 77-run stand. But just as India looked to be heading into the break unharmed, Moeen Ali landed one into the rough, and Vihari offered a faint edge to Jonny Bairstow. Lunch was taken on Day 3 with India at 240/7, behind England by 92 runs.

For someone who was added to the Indian squad and had his selection questioned, Vihari cut a figure complete opposite to the one that batted on Saturday. Yesterday’s countless misses, top edges and leg before appeals had converted into crisp drives, confident punches and swift running between the wickets. The beginning wasn’t easy. Stuart Broad and James Anderson had their tail up and delivered a probing spell, but Vihari and Jadeja endured and fought it out. The sight of Broad bowling to Jadeja was reminiscent of Mohammed Shami bowling to Moeen Ali in the first innings with countless play and misses.

After a scratchy first half an hour, Jadeja flicked Broad towards the square leg boundary, which gave India a push. Vihari, having battled hard, crunched a couple of boundaries to take India past the 200-run mark, a total that had looked improbable considering India’s lower-order struggles. The nervy moments had evaporated and with each passing over, both batsmen grew in confidence. Vihari scampered for a single to bring up his maiden half-century for India.

Jadeja was the perfect ally Vihari could have hoped for. After playing out that testing opening spell, Jadeja edged a couple of deliveries past the slip cordon off Jadeja. Anderson had his hands on his hips. Off Stokes, Jadeja employed a flamboyance cut. It was his first Test innings since June, and the allrounder showed India what they missed down at No. 7.

At the stroke of lunch, Vihari played a beautiful sweep shot for four but Ali returned next over to break the promising stand as the batsman left the field to a standing ovation.

Brief score: India 240/7 (Vihari 56, Jadeja 41*) trail England 332 all out by 92 runs at lunch on Day 3.