Quick Indian wickets leave Lord's Test delicately poised
India were looking solid post-tea against England but three quick wickets in the last session were enough to put the second Test at Lord's in a delicate situation and evenly poised with the visitors ending with a lead of 145 runs on Day 3 here Saturday.
After bowling out the hosts for 319 in the morning, India were going steady at 118/1 when they lost three wickets in a span of five runs to end at 169/4. Opener Murali Vijay (59 not out) and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (12 not out) were at the crease after 63 overs of India's second innings.
Earlier, an inspiring bowling performance from Bhuvneshwar Kumar (6/82) led India to bowl out England before lunch. Resuming the day at 219/6, the hosts put on 100 runs in 19.5 overs but lost their last four wickets, yet managing to go ahead of India's first innings total of 295 by 24 runs.
Overnight batsman Liam Plunkett (55 not out) and wicketkeeper Matt Prior (23) successfully denied the Indian seamers any success in the first hour. However, Shami was finally successful in breaking the 51-run partnership when Prior top edged the ball and a backward running Shikhar Dhawan took a brilliant catch.
Bhuvneshwar then scalped two wickets in three deliveries to bring up his best bowling figures in Tests, surpassing his previous best and first five-wicket haul which he achieved in the last Test on a dead Trent Bridge pitch, which the ICC has rated as 'poor'.
Plunkett and James Anderson (19) made sure that the hosts took the lead with their 39-run last-wicket partnership before the latter gloved it to Ajinkya Rahane in the slips.
Uttar Pradesh's Bhuvneshwar became only the third Indian to pick up six wickets at the 'home of cricket' after Ladha Amar Singh (1936) and Bishan Singh Bedi (1974).
After clinching the first five, the Meerut-born also entered his name into Lord's honours board. He has also been the best bowler of the five-match series so far with 11 wickets, two more than all other Indian bowlers combined.
India started on a steady note with opener Dhawan (31) starting positively. The left hander was looking good as he drove four boundaries in his 45-ball knock and kept the scoreboard ticking. He went for another on a short pitched delivery but was caught superbly by Joe Root at point to be dismissed with the total at 40.
However, Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara (43) slowly steadied the innings with a 78-run second-wicket partnership.
Just when it was looking that the duo would take India to a challenging total, Pujara was caught behind off Plunkett. Vice-captain Virat Kohli (0) went back to the pavilion on his first delivery when he offered no shot to Plunkett's inswinger.
Five runs later, Ajinkya Rahane (5) was also caught behind but replays showed the ball had struck hit armguard and not his glove.
Vijay and Dhoni played out the last few overs and will have a task on their hands on Day 4.
(Posted on 20-07-2014)