|Ground:||The Rose Bowl, Southampton|
|Scorecard:||England v India|
|Player:||JC Buttler, JE Root|
|Event:||India in England 2014|
DateLine: 29th July 2014
By Andy Jalil at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton In association with INVESTEC
Southampton – Ian Bell and Gary Ballance ensured that the England batting dominated the play again as it had done on the previous day. Both batsmen continued in the same vein in another heavy scoring mode with India bowlers making little impression on either. With their monumental effort England were able to declare on a massive 569 for seven wickets.
In response to that India in the 14 overs that remained in the second day’s play, were 25 for the loss of Shikhar Dhawan’s wicket when he was held for 6 at second slip off James Anderson’s big out-swinger.
Resuming on his score of 104, Ballance hit three fours in four balls off Kumar while Bell, 16 overnight, went down the pitch to lift Ravendra Jadeja for a straight six to reach 48 and his 42nd Test half century followed in the next over.
Ballance later moved on to 141 with a pull off Jadeja and the same stroke off Pankaj Singh took him to 150. The first England No. 3 to reach that milestone in three years when Bell did so against the same opposition at the Oval when he hit 235, his highest Test score.
Eventually with just two overs remaining for lunch, Ballance was given out, on 156 from 288 balls, caught behind. Dhoni decided to give his part-time off spinner Rohit Sharma a spell for the first time in the day – he had bowled just six of the 90 overs the previous day – and it ended the third wicket stand of 142. Ballance was unlucky with the decision as he did not play the ball which bounced a little and spun away grazing his thigh pad.
At lunch England were 358 for three with Bell on 68 and after the break he speeded along with a flurry of boundaries. He played strokes on either side of the pitch and a neat cut past gully took him to 77 before another four clipped to long leg off Pankaj Singh saw him to 85. India then struck with the wicket of Joe Root who edged behind in playing a ball well outside off stump.
Bell progressed carefully with singles and twos into the nineties and then brought up his 21st Test hundred and the first since the Ashes last summer, in style with a six down the ground. He followed that with a next ball four driven to cover and then a straight six followed by yet another four cut to point. The over from Jadeja conceded 21 runs and Bell, in full flow took his score to 114.
By tea England were 452 for five with Bell on 133 in a little over three hours with 82 of those runs having come from boundaries. Meanwhile England had lost Moeen Ali’s wicket on 420, with Ajinkya Rahane at second slip taking a fine head-high catch in front of first slip which gave Kumar two wickets for 4 in 16 balls.
In the second session Dhoni used his three pace bowlers rotating them in an unusual tactic of one-over spells. If the idea was to unsettle the batsmen, it certainly didn’t work as it made no difference with the runs continuing to flow. During their 106-run partnership for the sixth wicket Bell reached 150 from 241 balls while Buttler lifted Jadeja for six to bring up the 500 for England.
The hundred runs of their stand was the third three-figure partnership of the innings and Buttler, on his Test debut reached a maiden fifty from 64 balls when Bell on a brilliant 167 which spanned nearly six hours, was held from a lofted straight hit off Kumar.
On 59 Buttler was fortunate not to be stumped off Jadeja when Dhoni missed a simple chance to remove the bails. He continued with his aggressive batting which contained nine fours and three sixes until Jadeja bowled him for 85 off only 83 balls. Kumar finished with three for 101 in a chastening day for India bowlers who bowled too many short and wide balls inviting the attacking strokes.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2014 Andy Jalil)