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‘Grabbed the chance I got’

- Jadeja really played well and that helped us: Vijay

England’s target of 319 is not an easy one and that was well evident on Sunday, the fourth day of the second Test, when they were reduced to 105 for four, at stumps. While not everything is lost for England yet, there’s no doubt that it will be an uphill task on a tricky fifth day wicket at Lord’s.

India will have to thank Murali Vijay, along with Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, for being able to put up 342 in their second innings, thereby setting a 300-plus target for the hosts.

Vijay was an epitome of patience during his 95 run innings. While he may be a little disappointed with missing a well-deserved century at the iconic venue, he should be proud of his 247-ball vigil at the crease while the other leading Indian batsmen failed to tackle the English attack.

Vijay hit 11 boundaries during his innings, but it was his ability to show patience which stood out the most. He looked determined to not give his wicket away at any cost before he was caught behind of James Anderson.

After the day’s play, Vijay revealed that he, along with the other Indians, are charged up to do something special, more precisely to prove a point and win the game.

“We are pumped up to do something special… We are here to prove a point and win a game,” Vijay said making the Indian team’s intention and approach very clear.

On missing the three-figure mark, he said: “It is disappointing, but I will take it any day if we pull off a win.”

He was also all praise for teammates Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar. “Jadeja really played well and that helped us… And obviously, Bhuvneshwar, too, batted very well. Bhuvi is hitting the ball really well and that us put in a good position,” he said.

“When Jadeja came in, I could feel the energy that he would do something special… I was playing the anchor role, but I got out… Jadeja capitalised on his intent,” Vijay said.

Speaking about Jadeja’s unique celebration after getting to his fifty, when he swung the bat like a sword, Vijay said: “He is probably a Rajput and may be that is a fighter caste… So he was just showing something,” the opener quipped.

Asked if the controversy involving Anderson charged up Jadeja, Vijay said: “I think so, because the intent was special.”

About England’s bowling, Vijay’s views were: “They were bowling in an off-stump channel and the wicket was doing a bit… I just thought I would tire them out.”

“I waited for my chance, worked hard, believed that I will have my turn and when I got it, I just grabbed it. If I get a good ball, I can’t do much, so I just focussed hard and batted… First hour of this Test match was really tough because the ball was moving around. I just thought that we have three four attacking batsmen after me and I wanted to be there for the second new ball,” the Tamil Nadu batsman added.

Vijay thinks that the game is well-placed for the Indians. “The game is very well-placed at the moment… Jadeja is spinning the ball well and the fast bowlers can help as well… It is doing a lot for spinners because of the footmarks.”

“It will be the fifth day and the pitch will have wear and tear,” Vijay hoped.

Bhuvi is now in elite club

Mahendra Singh Dhoni recorded his slowest innings (of 10-plus runs) of his Test career during his Sunday’s knock of 19 runs, which came off 86 balls (S/R 22.09). His previous slowest was the 25 off 112 balls (S/r 22.32), made against South Africa, in Nagpur, in February 2010. For the record, Dhoni’s fastest Test knock is 69 off 52 balls (S/r 132.69), versus the West Indies, in St John’s, in June 2006.

The father and son duo of Roger and Stuart Binny have both made 9 runs in their respective Test matches at Lord’s. In 1986, Roger made 9 in his only innings, while his son Stuart made 9 & 0 in the ongoing Test.

Murali Vijay (95) became the only second Indian to be dismissed in the 90s at Lord’s, after Rahul Dravid’s 95-run innings in 1996, which incidentally was his debut Test.
m In this series, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, James Anderson, Stuart Binny, Liam Plunkett and Ravindra Jadeja have all recorded their maiden Test fifties.

Bhuvneshwar now has made 209 runs (Avg. 69.66) and also taken 11 wickets (Avg. 15.81) in the series. His figures in this series are: At Trent Bridge — 58 & 63*; 5/82; At Lord’s (till the 4th day): 36 & 52; 6/82.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (52 & 6/82) became the third Indian after Vinoo Mankad (72 & 184, 5/196 in 1952) and Kapil Dev (89, 5/125 in 1982) to score a fifty and also claim a five-wicket haul in a Lord’s Test.

England are chasing 319 for victory in the ongoing Test. Their highest successful run chase in Tests is 332/7, vs Australia (MCG, 1929), followed by 315/4, vs Australia (Leeds, 2001) and 307/6, vs New Zealand (Christchurch, 1997).

Mohandas Menon