Late Plunkett Strikes Keep England In The Hunt
India 295 (Rahane 103) & 169-4 (Vijay 59no) v
England 319 (Ballance 110, Kumar 6-82)
Second Test, Lord's, day three
Liam Plunkett took two wickets in two balls before India closed day three of the second Test against England at Lord’s on 169 for four, giving them a lead of 145.
England began the day on 219 for six and in desperate need of some quick runs from the lower order to get close to India’s first innings total of 295.
Under pressure wicket-keeper Matt Prior (23) looked in good touch before he top edged a pull shot to Shikhar Dhawan off the bowling of Mohammed Shami.
Despite the setback, nightwatchman Plunkett comtinued to bat in a positive fashion as he brought up his first Test half-century and helped England reach 319, which gave them a lead of 24 when they were bowled out.
Plunkett made 55 not out in 79 balls and James Anderson a sprightly 19 in 21 deliveries.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar took his second five-wicket haul of the series (6-82) and they were the second best figures by an Indian in a Test at Lords.
India appeared untroubled at the start of their innings and although they lost Dhawan for 31, they reached tea on 84 for one - a lead of 60 - and seemed poised to take complete control of the game.
However, after tea Plunkett struck in consecutive balls removing Cheteshwar Pujara (43) and then Virat Kohli (0) to leave the tourists wobbling on 118 for three and when first innings centurion Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed for five England appeared to have turned the contest on its head.
Back came India though and opener Murali Vijay continued on sedately to score 59 not out in 190 balls.
His unbeaten partnership of 46 with his captain MS Dhoni (12 not out) helped India closed day three on 169 for four with all to play for with two days to go.
© Cricket World 2014
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