England v India – Second Test (Day 4)
Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar exhibited some great counter-attacking batting to help India set a daunting target of 319 for England in the second Test at Lord’s. In reply, England lost four of their batsmen in Sam Robson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell and Alastair Cook to end Day 4 at 105/4.
Jadeja set the ball rolling by trapping Robson lbw before Tea. Ballance and Cook then tried to rebuild but Shami got the breakthrough and Ishant grabbed two quick wickets to send the English captain and Bell back to the dressing room.
Mohammed Shami after being reintroduced into the attack got a wicket off his first delivery when he had Ballance (27) nick the ball to Dhoni.
In the next over, Ian Bell found his off and middle-stump rattled by Ishant with the delivery that came in.
It was then Joe Root’s turn to take guard while the tall Indian paceman hit the deck hard and asked questions off the batsmen. His next scalp was Cook who had trudged on for 93 balls to score 22. Ishant had the England skipper edge the ball to his opposite number leaving the team struggling on 72 for four.
With three quick wickets, India were in a commanding position. Root and Moeen Ali rallied on to take England to 105/4 at stumps under overcast conditions.
Earlier, building on the platform laid by Murali Vijay (95), Jadeja scored a quick-fire 57-ball 68 while Bhuvneshwar made 52 off 71 to take India to 342 in the second innings. After playing a possibly game changing knock, Jadeja claimed Sam Robson early in the innings while Ishant Sharma dealt couple of severe blows in a stingy spell to push the hosts on the back-foot.
Resuming on 169/4, Vijay and Dhoni added 33 to the overnight score until the latter departed. Grafting runs watchfully, the pair had kept the England pacers at bay. However, Liam Plunkett ended their partnership on 79. The pacer induced an edge off Dhoni’s willow and Bell took the catch in the slips.
Stuart Binny then hurled Moeen Ali towards mid-off and followed his captain back to the dressing-room for naught. Cook covered good ground to take a running catch and leave India on 203/6. With two wickets off consecutive overs just before drinks, the Indian innings again needed stabilizing. Vijay who had held the innings together even as he lost partners at the other end was tasked with stitching another partnership to keep India in the game. He was joined by Jadeja in the endevour.
But, this time it was the opener, who was inching towards the opportunity to have his named carved on the honours list fell five runs short of a much-deserved century. Having battled it out in the middle for 246 deliveries, he returned edging James Anderson to the wicket-keeper.
With the lead on 211, Bhuvneshwar Kumar would have returned a bit before Lunch had Joe Root caught the ball as it flew over his head in the slips. The Jadeja-Bhuvneshwar pair then took India to 267/7 at Lunch.
Jadeja continued his onslaught post lunch and posted his maiden Test fifty. In the following over he hit Anderson straight over his head for four as he continued to add valuable runs to the total. While Jadeja entertained with fire-works, Bhuvneshwar too scored at a quick pace in the crucial partnership, which became the highest for the innings. The duo hit the boundary at will as they milked the opposition attack and seized the momentum.
With the partnership on 99, Jadeja attempting to pull Stokes only managed to send the ball high in the air and Cook running backwards took the catch. Ali followed up with the wicket of Mohammed Shami. In the next over, Bhuvneshwar dismissed Stokes to the long-on boundary to reach his third fifty in four innings. But in the pacer’s next over, he nicked the bowler to second slip bringing an end to the Indian innings.
Day 1: Ind 1st inn 290/9 in 90 overs (A Rahane 103, B Kumar 36, J Anderson 4/55, S Broad 2/79)
Day 2: Ind 1st inn 295 all out in 91.4 overs (M Shami 19, B Stokes 2/40); Eng 1st inn 219 in 86 overs (G Balance 110, B Kumar 4/46)
Day 3: Eng 1st inn 319 all out in 105.5 overs (L Plunkett 55*, B Kumar 6/82); Ind 2nd inn 169/4 in 63 overs (M Vijay 59*, MS Dhoni 12*, L Plunkett 2/23)