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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Vijay's century frustrates England on Day 1

Vijay's century frustrates England on Day 1

Last updated on: July 10, 2014 00:10 IST

Opener Murali Vijay hit an unbeaten century and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni slammed a solid fifty as India frustrated England on the opening day of the first Test at Trent Bridge, in Nottingham, on Wednesday.

Vijay batted through the day to finish unbeaten on 122, while Dhoni hit 50 off 64 balls to steer the visitors to 259 for four in 90 overs at stumps.

- Scorecard

Murali Vijay of India raises his bat as he leaves the field alongside Mahendra Singh DhoniVijay's 294-ball stay at the crease was decorated with 20 boundaries and a six, while Dhoni struck five fours en route to his half-century. The duo put on an unbroken stand of 81 runs for the fifth wicket, digging India out of trouble after a fine rearguard fourth-wicket partnership of 71 runs between Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane (32) in the post-lunch session.

- Photos from Day 1

James Anderson (2-70), Stuart Broad (1-26) and Liam Plunkett (1-56) were England's wicket-takers.

Earlier, Dhoni had no hesitation in electing to bat after winning the toss. The visitors handed a Test debut to all-rounder Stuart Binny, choosing to play five bowlers, and dropped Rohit Sharma to make way for him.

The Karnataka player follows in his father -- former cricketer and also current selector -- Roger Binny's footsteps. They became the tenth father-son pair to represent the country in Test cricket.

England too made one change to their eleven from the team that lost to Sri Lanka at Headingley, bringing in fit-again all-rounder Ben Stokes in place of Chris Jordan.

India were dealt an early blow as Shikhar Dhawan was well-taken behind the stumps by wicketkeeper Matt Prior off James Anderson for 12.

After that there was no respite for the English attack, as Vijay was joined by Cheteshwar Pujara at the crease and the two played solid and watchful cricket. The runs started flowing as the field began to spread. Perhaps, the hosts missed a trick there since Anderson got Pujara to nick one that went past fourth slip that had been taken off prior to the delivery.

Otherwise, there were no straight-forward chances coming from the two batsmen. The 50-run mark came up for India in the 13th over, just before an hour's play was completed.

Vijay then brought up his fifth Test fifty, off 68 balls, with 11 fours; in the next over and two overs later, the 100-run mark came up as the Indians won the first session with some determined batting.

However, England's bowlers checked India's progress with the quick dismissals of Pujara and Virat Kohli.

Pujara was the first to go, in the second over after lunch, foxed by the change of pace from Anderson and Ian Bell completed a brilliant diving catch at silly mid-on.

India's batting mainstay Kohli was out in the very next over, caught at second slip off Broad for one.

India found themselves in trouble as they lost Pujara (38) and Kohli (1) in quick succession to be reduced to 107 for three.

Rahane walked in next and he along with Vijay batted cautiously, as only 18 runs came from the 14 overs bowled in the first hour after lunch.

In the post-tea session, Vijay resumed his innings at 92 in the company of Rahane. But the latter didn't last long, getting out in a freak manner soon after the break, bottom-edging a short delivery from Liam Plunkett to captain Cook at silly point.

The dismissal brought an end to their 71-run fourth-wicket stand that lasted 27.1 overs and saved India the blushes.

Vijay registered his fourth Test century, off 214 balls, with a single on the leg side, in the 68th over. It was his first Test hundred outside India and the first against an opposition other than Australia. It was also the 100th Test hundred scored at Trent Bridge.

Dhoni, at the other end, adopted a positive approach and hit a few cracking boundaries before he brought up his 30th Test fifty in the final over of the day.

Image: Murali Vijay of India raises his bat as he leaves the field with Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images