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Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara’s Partnership Helps India Stay Strong

pujNew Delhi, Friday, November 11 – After Moeen Ali resumed his play at a score of 99 off 192 balls and Ben Stokes at 19 runs off 41 balls, it was expected that confident play is to come ahead. Ali managed to get another ton in his pocket. At Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot yesterday, his teammates applauded the way he played the game.

More than a few catches were dropped by Virat Kohli-led squad that comprised Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Murali Vijay, Gautam Gambhir and Cheteshwar Pujara. Despite having some great fielders, mistakes were made at different time intervals that allowed England have a strong grip in the match.

Shami was the man to break their partnership by dismissing Ali at a score of 117 runs. He struck thirteen boundaries.  However, another stunner was yet to be showed that came from the bat of Ben Stokes who scored 128 runs in 235 balls, with the help of 13 4s and two sixes. Jonny Bairstow – the wicket keeper batsman – lost his wicket to Shami when he was four runs away from pocketing a fifty. His innings included five fours and two sixes. Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid were dismissed at four and five runs, failing to read a delivery by Jadeja.

Stokes was the highest scorer from England side. India felt the heat in taking the ninth wicket. The last wicket fell in the form of Zafar Ansari who was lbw by Mishra at a score of 32, comprising three fours. Stuart Broad was not out at a score of six. The momentous score of 537 runs for the loss of 10 wickets in 159.3 overs was sufficient to pressurize India. It was now the chance of Alastair Cook to excel in the department of fielding as well. With Haseeb Hameed, Joe Root, Ben Duckett, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Zafar Ansari in the squad, likelihood of the same was high as well.

Dropped catches resulted in three tons from England batsmen. Jadeja earned three wickets, Shami, Yadav and Ashwin got two wickets each, while Mishra got one wicket each. As far as batting of the Indian team is concerned then Vijay and Gambhir gave India a kind of start that was required to get past the total set by England. The opening duo did a partnership of 63 runs in 23 overs. Vijay is batting at 25 runs, while Gambhir at 28 runs. 10 extras were bowled by England bowlers. Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Ashwin, W Saha, Jadeja, Mishra, Yadav and Shami are yet to bat.

Focus of India will be on totaling runs by doing some wonderful partnerships, which will only let them recover from the mistakes they made by dropping catches. A brilliant effort by Vijay towards the boundary line to pouch the ball failed after he lost his balance. Despite the fact that he tried to throw the ball inside the boundary, it was thrown a bit far that he could not come under it for another time. In the play of 23 overs, Indian side was able to not lose wicket. India are probable to perform well on Friday as well, taking into account the kind of play they that was put forward a day ago.

The need of time is a few partnerships. If that is achieved then India may get success in making best use of the opportunity. The visitors would not let India shine on Day 3 of the match, attaining grip in the contest. It is clear that if the Men in Blue think of logging win on the visiting team that is eyeing to let opponents bear the brunt. Even though it can’t be said that there is any kind of defeat threat on Indian squad to this point but keeping in mind the changes that can happen in cricket, nothing can be said certain what is going to happen in a little while. Thanks to exposure to T20 cricket, people are able to see more than a few sixes in Test format as well. Biggies at different span of time take pressure away.

Cook has also gone with five bowler strategy. Job is to be done by Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Zafar Ansari and Adil Rashid. Job on their shoulders is big knowing the fact that India have deep batting lineup. Apart from key batsmen, Ashwin can also bat and go for fours and sixes, apart from converting singles into twos and threes as the situations allow. England batting orders have done their bit. Now it is the time for bowlers to do their job. Restricting India at a low total is the objective of the visitors so that it can be easy to start second innings with a lead.

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