Ballance ton keeps England in the hunt

England

India held the slight upper hand at stumps on day two of the second Test against England at Lord's, restricting the hosts to 219 for six in the face of Gary Ballance's resistance in the form of a classy century.

India held the slight upper hand at stumps on day two of the second Test against England at Lord's, restricting the hosts to 219 for six in the face of Gary Ballance's resistance in the form of a classy century.

England were once again without their openers early in their innings, as they lost Alastair Cook and Sam Robson in the morning, reaching lunch against India on 51 for two. The afternoon saw the loss of two more wickets.

Ballance reached his second ton in as many matches at Lord's in the evening, holding things together as wickets fell around him. He was out late in the day, and England reached the close still 76 runs in arrears.

The day began with India still one wicket in hand, coming out to bat on 290 for nine. They were only able to add five runs to that though, as Ben Stokes got the edge within the first 15 minutes, and Cook caught Mohammed Shami at slip.

Thus, England were put into bat chasing the 295 for a lead, and Cook and Robson looked particularly scratchy against the swing produced. Cook was out for 10, playing a defensive shot away from his body, edging Bhuvneshwar Kumar behind.

The Kumar/Dhoni combination came into play again a few overs later, as Kumar claimed Robson's wicket. The Middlesex man played an swishy shot outside his off stump and got the edge, leaving Dhoni with an easy catch.

The rest of the session saw Ballance and Ian Bell defend with all their might, with the former making just seven runs off 46 balls, while Bell was on 11 at lunch, off 28 deliveries.

The afternoon session was slightly better in terms of runs, 20 more than the morning, but they added two more wickets to the pile. Bell was only able to make 16 before become Kumar's third victim.

The young paceman angled one into Bell, who tried to leave the ball but the swing followed him and it hit his glove, ballooning to Ravi Jadeja in the slips. This brought Joe Root to the middle to join his Yorkshire team-mate.

Root was also out in the teens, for 13 just before tea, but he was a victim of the lack of DRS in this series. He was trapped LBW by Jadeja and had to walk off, but hot spot replays showed he had a healthy inside edge.

Meanwhile, Ballance added another half century to his tally at Lord's adding to the ton he made against Sri Lanka, and also adding to the half century he made in the first Test of this series. At tea he sat on 51.

The evening saw the India bowlers aim for the new ball, resting Kumar as Jadeja and Murali Vijay ate up the overs. Vijay got rewarded with his first Test wicket when he bagged Moeen Ali for 32, and England sent Liam Plunkett in as a night watchman.

With seven overs to go at that stage, watchers were surprised that Matt Prior didn't come in, but the tactic was in vain when Ballance was out for 110. He was out to the new ball, caught behind of Kumar, who thus had four wickets. Prior then had to join Plunkett, and the pair saw of a few overs of the shiny cherry.

Latest