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Prajakta Pawar in Mumbai 09 July 2014 - 06:00pm IST

Report: England vs India, 1st Test - Day 1

Murali Vijay, MS Dhoni hand India advantage on Day 1 at Trent Bridge

A warm bright sunshine welcomed the players at Trent Bridge as conditions looked perfect to kick off the five-match Test series between India and England. India dominated the first session with Murali Vijay leading the way. England pacers – James Anderson and Stuart Broad tried to push them on the back-foot by claiming two early wickets at the beginning of the second session. That didn’t deter the Indian opener as he dropped anchor keeping the Indian innings intact. While he was complemented by Cheteshwar Pujara in the first half, he found an able ally in Ajinkya Rahane in the second and MS Dhoni in the third. When play ended, the Indian opener along with his captain had taken the team to 259 for four.

Earlier, Vijay opened the account with a boundary off Anderson past the slips. He struck the next delivery to third man and followed it up with a third hit to the fence to finish the over with 12 runs on the board. However, the experience of James Anderson came handy when he produced an outside edge off Shikhar Dhawan's bat giving Matt Prior a low single-handed catch.

After Anderson and Stuart Board, Ben Stokes and Liam Plunkett toiled to create a dent but the Indian pair presented a stoic front.

With the pacers unable to pose problems, Alastair Cook introduced off-spinner Moeen Ali into the attack. He was lofted over mid-wicket by Pujara to bring up a half-century stand. In the next over, Vijay brought up his fifty with a boundary off Stokes.

With a half-century Vijay had helped India to 106 for one at lunch in Trent Bridge and was ably supported by Pujara in the effort. While the No 3 batsman played circumspectly, Vijay playing watchfully drove and nudged the ball to the fence as India scored at an unhurried pace. As the pair looked to lay a platform, Pujara too impressed with cuts and drives.

However, in his first over of the second session, Anderson accounted for the valuable wicket of Pujara as Ian Bell pulled off a magnificent catch at silly mid-on. Virat Kohli followed him back edging Broad to Bell at second slip leaving India on 107 for three.

For the addition of just one run, India had lost two crucial wickets, which brought Ajinkya Rahane out to the middle. The pace-duo had seized the momentum from India and asked a few questions of the new comer.

With the balance leaning in the hosts favour, it was left to Vijay and Rahane to stabilise the innings and ensure that they don’t lose more wickets. Vijay and Rahane looked to consolidate their partnership and bided their time at the crease as they took the innings forward and ended up with 177 for 3 at Tea. India though received an early jolt right after tea, as England’s ploy to serve some short stuff finally paid off. Ajinkya Rahane fell prey to a Liam Plunkett bouncer and was caught by Cook at silly point for 32. Murali Vijay though looked patient and calm at the other end as Indian captain MS Dhoni joined him in the middle.

Dhoni had a steady start to his innings, but the limelight was on Vijay who was all set to notch up his first ton on English soil. He marched to 99 with a glorious punch down the ground and later took close to two overs to reach his century. With a flick to square leg, the opener finally brought up his fourth Test century and it was an innings filled with artistic strokeplay and patience epitome.

The Indian captain at the other end took calculated risks and got the scoreboard ticking. England then took the new cherry with the hope of knocking off some wickets towards the fag end of day’s play, but it was Vijay and Dhoni’s grit and determination to carry their bat through that kept the England bowlers at bay. Dhoni soon brought up his half century, a vital knock under the circumstances and India ended up with 259 for 4 at the end of day 1 of the Test match. The Vijay-Dhoni duo had accounted for an unbeaten partnership of 81 as India headed back to the dressing room having won two out of the three sessions.

Debut: Stuart Binny was handed his Test cap by the India skipper.

Brief Scores:
India 259/4 at stumps on Day 1. (M Vijay – 122*, MS Dhoni 50*, J Anderson – 2/70) 

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