Murali Vijay Keeps India Afloat at Lord's After Liam Plunkett's Double
India finished at 169/4 in the second innings at stumps on Day 3, leading England by 145 runs. Murali Vijay remained unbeaten on 59 to anchor India's innings after Liam Plunkett took two wickets in two balls to reduce the visitors to 123/4, while they led the home side by just 99 runs.
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 Saturday. (Also read: Bhuvneshwar joins India's elite)
India lost three wickets for five runs in 19 balls to be 123 for four -- a lead of just 99 runs. (Highlights)
But by the close of the third day they were 169 for four -- 145 runs ahead but not yet a decisive lead. (Scorecard)
Opening batsman Vijay, in for nearly five hours, was 59 not out and India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni unbeaten on 12. ('England Won't Find Final Chase Easy at Lord's')
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 two balls.
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 toss.
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 duck. (Kohli's Slump in Form Does not Worry Gavaskar)
Plunkett though wasted his hat-trick delivery as Ajinkya Rahane left a ball well wide of off stump.
- Rahane controversy -
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 legside 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 verdict.
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 legside clip.
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.