London - Murali Vijay anchored India's second innings with a painstaking
fifty after England threatened to take charge of the second Test at Lord's on
India lost three wickets for five runs in 19 balls to be 123 for four - a
lead of just 99 runs.
But by the close of the third day they were 169 for four - 145 runs ahead
but not yet a decisive lead.
Opening batsman Vijay, in for nearly five hours, was 59 not out and India captain
Mahendra Singh Dhoni unbeaten on 12.
England's Liam Plunkett had a day to remember, scoring a Test-best 55 not
out to help his side into a first-innings lead and then taking two wickets in
While Vijay was becalmed, fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan struck four fours.
But on 31 the left-hander failed to get over the top of a cut off Ben Stokes
and was well caught by Joe Root at backward point to leave India 40 for one.
Cheteshwar Pujara stylishly cover-drove Stokes for four.
By contrast, it took Vijay 57 balls to both score his first boundary and
move into double figures, with a leg-glance off Stuart Broad.
England had again too often bowled short on a pitch no longer the 'green
top' on which captain Alastair Cook had sent India into bat after winning the
But when fast bowler Plunkett pitched the ball up from the Nursery End, he
was duly rewarded.
First, he drew Pujara (43) forward and had him caught behind off the outside
edge to end a second-wicket stand of 78 in nearly 30 overs.
Next ball Virat Kohli made the mistake of deliberately leaving a ball which
came back up the eight-foot Lord's slope and was clean bowled for a golden
Plunkett though wasted his hat-trick delivery as Ajinkya Rahane left a ball
well wide of off stump.
But Rahane, who made a superb 103 in the first innings, fell cheaply soon
afterwards albeit controversially.
He was on five when he fended at a short delivery from Broad, the ball
looping down the leg-side to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
However, the ball had clearly hit Rahane's arm guard rather than the glove,
meaning he should have remained not out.
But with Indian objections meaning there was no Decision Review System this
series, Rahane was unable to challenge Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford's
Vijay briefly came out of his shell to complete a 162-ball fifty with two
fours in as many James Anderson deliveries, an off-drive followed by a leg-side
One other concern for England was a slow over-rate which risked Cook, as
captain, incurring a ban and thereby having the break many pundits believe
would be beneficial for the left-handed opener, who has now gone 26 innings
without scoring a Test hundred.
Earlier, Bhuvneshwar Kumar took six for 82 as he recorded his Test-best
figures for the second time in as many matches.
But even Kumar could not prevent England gaining a first-innings lead of 24.
England's tail wagged effectively as they added exactly 100 runs to an
overnight 219 for six before the hosts were bowled out for 319.
Fast-medium bowler Kumar's return surpassed his haul of five for 82 in last
week's draw at Trent Bridge.
But Plunkett and No 11 Anderson, fresh from his Test-best 81 in Nottingham,
struck a flurry of boundaries as they added 39 in 43 balls on Saturday.
Kumar, who had removed all of England's top four, including century-maker
Gary Ballance on Friday, reduced England to 280 for nine in initially overcast
conditions on Saturday.
He bowled Stokes for a duck with a swinging delivery and then had Broad
caught at first slip.