|Ground:||Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood|
|Scorecard:||England v India|
|Player:||GS Ballance, Bhuvneshwar Kumar|
|Event:||India in England 2014|
By Andy Jalil at Lord's In association with INVESTEC
London Gary Ballance, in magnificent form, brought up his second Test century of the summer and lifted England after Bhuvneshwar Kumars superb spell of pace bowling had caused the early damage on the second day. Kumar finished with excellent figures of four for 46. Following his score of 71 in the first Test last week and prior to that his maiden hundred and 74 in the two Tests against Sri Lanka last month, Ballance once again played an innings of class on a sun-lit afternoon in the presence of a sell-out crowd.
As his innings progressed, Ballance displayed a fine range of attractive strokes and by the final session of play he dominated the play with none of the six bowlers used by India making an impression on him. By close of play he led England to 219 for six with his 110 runs spanning five hours leaving England trailing by 76 on the first innings.
Englands fall of wickets began after ten overs when Alastair Cook, playing from the crease, got an edge to a ball from Kumar which was just outside the line of the off stump. Nine runs later Kumar struck again to take his second wicket in a space of 13 balls. Sam Robson, who had been dropped on 8 at second slip off Mohammed Shami had no luck this time when he pushed at a ball outside the line of off stump only to give MS Dhoni his second catch behind the stumps.
The wicket brought a personal milestone to the India captain who went past the 53 dismissals to beat Alan Knott as the wicketkeeper with most dismissals in Tests between the two countries.
At lunch England were 51 for two and before a recovery could take place, Kumar removed Ian Bell who gloved a rising ball to third slip. With that wicket Kumar had three for 25 in 14.4 very effective overs. But England were unfortunate to have Joe Root being given out lbw to left-arm spinner Ravendra Jadeja when replays clearly showed that he had edged the ball on to his pad..
It happened when the fourth wicket stand of 43, had seemed to be shaping well with Ballance playing some fine shots to take his score to 45 at Roots dismissal. He gave a chance on 31 when an edge flew between wicketkeeper and Shikhar Dhawan at at first slip to the boundary and neither of them moved. It is usually the wicketkeeper who is expected to go for those chances. Ballance then played three beautiful strokes to the boundary.
A lovely drive to mid-off off Stuart Binny took him to 40, followed by a flick to long leg off Shami. He remained watchfully on 45 for ten overs before reaching his third Test half century from 115 balls over an-hour-and-a-half, taking England to 125 for four at tea. Englands highest stand of the day came in the final session when Ballance and Moeen Ali steadied the innings with the only fifty-partnership of the day.
While Ali held his end, Ballance played attacking shots. He took his score to 89 with a beautiful cover drive for four off Binny and sent the next ball to the cover point boundary with a square drive. On 99, his drive to wide mid-wicket, again off Binny, took him to three figures. But soon after, England lost Alis wicket, lbw for 32 and he had given excellent support to Ballance over two hours.
Ballance was finally dismissed in the third over with the second new ball with Kumar having him caught behind after facing 203 balls with 60 of his runs coming from fours.
At the start of the day, resuming on the overnight score of 290 for nine, Indias last wicket fell on the tenth ball of the morning after Shami had added five runs to take his score to 19 and the total to 295.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2014 Andy Jalil)