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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Vijay stays defiant as India look to build lead

Vijay stays defiant as India look to build lead

July 19, 2014 23:38 IST

A defiant half-century by India opener Murali Vijay kept alive his side's hopes of setting England a tough fourth-innings chase in a tense second Test at Lord's in London, on Saturday.

Scorecard

The second match of the five-Test series remains finely poised heading into Sunday's fourth day, the visitors finishing at 169 for four in 63 overs.

Murali Vijay (right) hits out as Matt Prior looks onVijay (59) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (12) will resume on Sunday with India 145 runs ahead and four second-innings wickets left as they aim to extend England's run without a Test victory to 10 matches and go 1-0 up in the five-match series.

Having taken a 24-run lead, England bowled with greater accuracy than in India's first innings, when they wasted their advantage on a green-tinged pitch that is now showing a touch of variable bounce.

After getting rid of Shikhar Dhawan before tea, England's four-strong seam attack had shown signs of tiredness on a warm London afternoon, having bowled a combined 222 overs on a dead pitch in the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge.

The surface was so poor it has since been reported to the International Cricket Council (ICC) by match referee David Boon.

Just as Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara started to look set, however, a double strike by Liam Plunkett injected some much-needed life into the England side.

First he had Pujara (43) feather an edge through to Matt Prior, before moving the next ball in off the pitch, hitting Virat Kohli's stumps with the batsman not playing a shot.

Next to go was first-innings centurion Ajinkya Rahane, given out caught by Prior off Stuart Broad on five despite the ball hitting his arm-guard, the third wicket to fall in the space of five runs.

While Vijay continued to look steady at one end, captain Dhoni rode his luck, surviving two lbw shouts from Plunkett in one over as he insisted on playing as few balls as possible.

Vijay passed 50 off 162 balls, while Dhoni knuckled down to offer the opener valuable support as they aim for a lead of at least 300.

Earlier Liam Plunkett's maiden test half-century helped England add 100 runs to their overnight total, their first innings eventually ending on 319.

After Gary Ballance's second Test century on Friday, nightwatchman Plunkett provided the main resistance, reaching his maiden Test fifty off 75 balls on his way to an unbeaten 55.

India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed career-best bowling figures of 6-82.

Image: Murali Vijay (right) hits out as Matt Prior looks on

Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images