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Best bowling day as group: Bhuvi

India pacer cherishes life-long dream of picking up wickets at Lord’s

Seven days into the England Test series Bhuvneshwar Kumar leads India’s batting (71.50) and bowling (14.22) averages. So far he has scored 157 runs and taken nine wickets which include two half-centuries and a five-for. His figures in the Lord’s Test so far are 4 for 46 and with four of England’s wickets remaining in the innings, Bhuvi is on the cusp of back-to-back five-wicket hauls.

Picking wickets at Lord’s, Bhuvi said, was his childhood dream. And he will be motivated to make his first appearance at the historic ground special by having his name on the honours board.

“I have been watching Lord’s matches on TV since childhood and ever since then it was a dream to come here,” Bhuvi said. “It is a great feeling to have picked up wickets here and also score those crucial 36 runs. However, right not I am focused on ensuring that we take the remaining wickets early tomorrow.”

Bhuvi bowled sensationally well throughout the day, sending down 23 overs for only 46 runs. His figures don’t reflect the conditions and the nature of the wicket as much as they tell of his discipline and single-mindedness.

The very pitch that was hard to tell from the lush green outfield when England bowled on the first day, looked browner and balder on day-two. The bite was relatively low, the ball swung much less and the beaming sun came to the batsmen’s rescue. But Bhuvi made the most of whatever was available from the pitch with his unwavering execution of his game-plan and sticking the motto, “on supportive wicket you have to be more disciplined.”

“The wicket eased out a lot today and the ball didn’t swing like it did yesterday. It is much easier to bat on now,” Bhuvi said. “But there’s still a lot in there if you bowl in the right areas.”

“I think it was our best day of bowling as a bowling group because despite the conditions being more in favour of the batsmen, we really kept them quiet and stopped them from scoring freely,” Bhuvi said.

While his bowling was brilliant, Bhuvi’s impact on the Test began much before he bowled his first ball. His contribution begun with a 90-run partnership with Ajinkya Rahane for the eighth wicket, batting on the green pitch. It wasn’t surprising that he rated his 36-run stint at Lord’s higher than the two fifties he got in Nottingham.

“I am enjoying batting in England. Scoring runs in Test cricket is very special. The partnership with Ajinkya was, in particular, very satisfying. We were in difficult situation and the conditions were tough. For me it is the best innings I have played so far.” 

Shirin Sadikot

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Stats Highlights: England vs India, 2nd Test - Day 2

Bhuvneshwar Kumar tops batting and bowling averages for India in the series

Alastair Cook’s catch to dismiss Mohammed Shami was his 100th in Test cricket. He became seventh Englishman and 31st fielder overall to do so.

Incidentally only Graham Gooch (110) has taken more Tests than Cook (106) among all England fielders to reach 100-catch mark.

India’s total of 295 is their highest while batting in first innings of a Lord’s Test. The previous highest was 235 in 1952.

Alastair Cook has now played 26 innings without reaching the three-figure mark even once. This is one of the worst streaks by an English captain (top-order batsman).

Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the leading wicket-keeper in India-England Tests when he caught Sam Robson off the bowling of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He moved ahead of Alan Knott’s tally of 54 dismissals. By the end of day, Dhoni extended his dismissal-tally to 56.

Incidentally Dhoni’s 56 dismissals against England are the second most by an Indian wicket-keeper against any country. The record is held by Dhoni himself- 57 dismissals against Australia. Syed Kirmani (50 dismissals vs Pakistan) is the only other Indian wicket-keeper to aggregate 50 dismissals against a particular country.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s four wickets took his series-tally to nine. Interestingly he is topping both batting and bowling averages for India in this series- 78.50 with the bat and 14.22 with the ball!

Gary Ballance (110) made his second hundred in fifth Test- also his highest Test score, eclipsing 104* against Sri Lanka also at Lord’s last month.

Ballance became third Englishman to score hundreds in his first two Tests at Lord’s, emulating Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott.

Murali Vijay claimed his maiden Test wicket in 24th match when he trapped Moeen Ali lbw. 

Rajneesh Gupta

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