India could not prolong their first innings on second day in the Lords test but Indian seamers pushed the England batsmen in the same way as the English bowlers had done against India on day 1. Alastair Cook failed once again much to the discomfiture of the English selectors and except for Gary Ballance, none of the England batsmen found the going easy. With wickets falling with clockwork regularity on the other end, Ballance stood his ground and struck a well-deserved century. On one of the hottest day in London this summer, England ended the day with 219/6 in reply to India’s 295 all out. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the pick of the Indian bowlers claiming 4 England wickets as the test match enters an intriguing day 3.
India’s overnight pair of Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma could not last long against swinging deliveries on the second day morning and after adding just 5 runs, Shami was caught by a juggling Cook in the slips, when he nicked to Ben Stokes. When Cook and Robson came out to open for England, they found it difficult to face the Indian bowlers, who were able to extract lot of swing. Early in the innings, Robson got a life. It was the 10th over, when Mohammed Shami found the edge of Robson’s bat but Rahane dropped a straightforward chance in the slips. As the ball dropped, Jadeja tried to pounce on it but failed. The miss, however, did not prove costly as three balls later, England lost their captain. Bhuvi Kumar had pitched a superb delivery just outside the off and Cook, rooted to his ground, nibbled it to the keeper to make it 22/1 for England. Cook survived 29 balls for his 10 runs and if he was not the captain, he would have lost his place in the England team as he has averaged only 23 in tests this year. No selector can afford to put up with such a batsman. Gary Ballance joined Robson at this stage.
In the 15th over, Kumar Struck another blow, when another of his outgoing delivery found a thin edge from Robson’s bat and Dhoni made no mistake behind the stumps. 31/2 was a good start for India as Ian Bell came to the crease. Ballance had scored only 2 runs off 27 balls at this stage. After lunch, when the England score stood at 70, Kumar extracted another wicket. It was a poor stroke from Ian Bell, who touched his gloves to an away-going short delivery rather than leaving it alone. The dangerous Joe Root joined Gary Ballance and the two of them carried the score to 113. Just when it seemed that the partnership would flourish further, Jadeja claimed Root by a skidding delivery that wrapped Root on his pads. The umpire took his time before reaching his decision after a confident and vociferous LBW appeal from the bowler and the fielders. 113/4 was not the score that England would have liked but from India’s viewpoint, they bounced back in the game. While Moeen Ali joined Ballance, India introduced an unlikely bowler in Murali Vijay. At Tea, England were 125/4 with Ballance having already reached the half century mark. In the 77th over, Ballance belted Binny for three fours and completed his second successive century at Lords to a wildly applauding house. The Ballance-Ali partnership was broken by Murali Vijay when he hit Ali on his pads with a straight delivery and the umpire raised his finger for LBW as England score read 210/5. Before the day ended, Bhuvi Kumar got his fourth wicket, when Ballance got a faint touch as he shaped for a leg side drive. Dhoni got his third catch of the day and England finished with 219/6.
While India could be excused for feeling like taking in an upper hand at the end of the day, it should not be forgotten that this series has been funny thus far. Most of the scoring has come from the lower order batsmen or tail-enders. It happened yesterday and everyone knows about the India and England first innings at Trent Bridge. It is, therefore, best for India to apply themselves on day 3 without feeling overly confident.