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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Ballance hits century but Bhuvneshwar's strikes put India on top

Ballance hits century but Bhuvneshwar's strikes put India on top

July 18, 2014 23:30 IST

Paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar scalped four wickets as India hit back with two late strikes to wrest the initiative on Day 2 of the second Test against England despite Gary Ballance's gutsy century at Lord's, on Friday.

Kumar exploited the seaming conditions to return figures of four for 46 in 23 overs and reduce England to 219 for six at stumps, still trailing by 76 runs. Matt Prior (2) and nightwatchman Liam Plunkett (4) were at the crease at stumps.

-  Scorecard

Bhuvneshwar KumarBallance got a lifeline on 32 when wicetkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed to take the edge off Stuart Binny in the 40th over before he made India pay for that lapse with a fighting century.

The left-hander scored 110 runs from 203 balls, hitting 15 fours before he was caught down the leg side wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni off Kumar.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (1-41) and part-timer Murali Vijay (1-12) were the other wicket-takers but pacers Ishant Sharma (0-32) and Mohammad Shami (0-33) failed to make most of the helpful conditions and returned wicketless.

India had heaped up pressure on England and reduced them to 125 for four at tea, before Ballance and Moeen Ali (32) rescued the hosts in the post-tea session as they put on 98 runs for the fifth wicket.

Ballance scored his second consecutive Test hundred at Lord's, off 186 balls hitting 14 fours, as he completed the landmark in the 77th over with a boundary off Stuart Binny through midwicket.

India were lucky to get the wicket of Ali, who was trapped leg before wicket by part-time spinner Vijay, who was called on to bowl an over to give the pacers a break before the second new ball became available.

Vijay celebrated picking up his maiden Test wicket and it got worse for England when Ballance was caught down the leg side off Kumar by Dhoni diving to his right.

Earlier, India's innings lasted just five minutes adding just five runs to their overnight score before Mohammed Shami was caught in the slips off Ben Stokes as India were bowled out for 295 in their first innings with Ishant Sharma unbeaten on 12.

Kumar struck early for India as he dismissed England captain Alastair Cook early for 10 as the left-hander's horror run with the bat continued. The young pacer stuck four overs later with opener Sam Robson (17) playing a loose stroke outside off-stump and was safely pouched by Dhoni as well. It was quite disappointing for the batsman for he failed to make most of a dropped catch by Ajinkya Rahane at third slip, off Shami in the 10th over.

Ballance and Ian Bell somehow survived a testing spell from the Indian pacers to take England to 51 for two in 24 overs at the lunch break.

Kumar returned in the post-lunch session to bag the wicket of Ian Bell for 16, who gloved a rising delivery to Jadeja at third slip as he tried to get out of the way.

Joe Root, who scored a century in the first Test in Nottingha, could manage only 13 before he was trapped leg before wicket by Jadeja though replays showed that Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford failed to notice an inside edge.

Just when it looked that Ballance and Ali were steering England to safety, the hosts lost both their wickets to hand the initiative back to India at stumps on the second day.

Image: Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images