Nottingham, July 9 IANS | 5 months ago

Opening batsman Murali Vijay put on a fine batting display and was eyeing a century as India recovered from two quick strikes to reach 177 for three at tea in the first innings on the first day of the first cricket Test against England at the Trent Bridge here Wednesday.

Looking for their first overseas Test win in three years, India had two contrasting sessions in the day after skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to bat first.

The Indian batsmen did well in the first session when 106 runs were scored, lost two quick wickets in the post-lunch session but Vijay (92) and Ajinkya Rahane (32) helped India recover from 107 for three to 177 for three at the tea break.

Vijay was in sublime touch right from the word go and looked determined to improve his woeful average in overseas Tests. He was involved in two key partnerships - a 73-run stand for the second wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara (38) and 70-run unfinished stand for the fourth wicket with Rahane.

After an impressive first session, India lost Pujara and Virat Kohli (1) in conssecutive overs. Pujara fell to Anderson's trap who was bowling with a silly mid-on. The ploy worked perfectly for Anderson as Pujara pushed at a delivery tentatively and Bell picked up a one-handed catch diving full length to his right.

Kohli went in the next over as he went forward to face Stuart Broad but the delivery straigthened after pitching and kissed the shoulder of the bat to second slip.

However, Vijay continued playing confidently at the other end. Rahane survived few nervous moments and close call but gave Vijay good company to help India recover from a precarious situation.

Earlier, with the 0-4 whitewash in 2011 still fresh in their minds, the Indian openers Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan (12) started confidently on a pitch that offered little assistance to the pacers.

India got off to an impressive start as they reached 106 for one at lunch. The only wicket to fall in the morning session was that of Dhawan (12), who was caught brilliantly by Matt Prior off James Anderson (2/50).

The first boundary came in just the third ball of the day, but in an accidental fashion. Vijay wanted to leave the delivery from Anderson but was late in pulling out and found an under-edge past the third slip for the first runs on board. The next two balls also were dispatched to the boundary by Vijay but in a much controlled manner.

But it didn't take long for Anderson to taste success. In the seventh over, he just got it to deviate just enough to catch the edge of Dhawan's bat and wicketkeeper Matt Prior plucked out a brilliant one-handed catch diving to his left.

Vijay and Pujara then added 73 runs for their unfinished second wicket stand to take India to a comfortable position at lunch. They took their own time but never missed out on an opportunity to punish the loose deliveries.

Earlier, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat against England.

India have dropped Rohit Sharma for all-rounder Stuart Binny, who will be making his Test debut while Ravindra Jadeja is the lone spinner. England have included Ben Stokes for Chris Jordan.

(Posted on 09-07-2014)

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