Dhoni, tailenders put India in control on Day 2


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The last wicket pairing of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami produced a stunning rearguard century partnership as India recovered from a dramatic middle-order collapse to post a commendable 457 in their first innings on Day 2 of the opening Test match against England, in Nottingham, on Thursday.

Bhuvneshwar (58) and Shami (51 not out) turned out to the unlikely batting heroes for India as they pulled the team out of trouble with a defined 111-run partnership to frustrate the hosts, who had the visitors reeling at 346 for nine at one stage with fours wickets falling for just two runs in a span of 20 balls.

At stumps on the second day, England were 43 for one with Shami (1/15) removing an out-of-form rival skipper Alastair Cook, who was bowled down the leg side for five.

Sam Robson (20) and Gary Ballance (15) were at the crease when stumps were drawn. The hosts still trail India by 414 runs with three full days play left in the match.

Bhuvneshwar and Shami struck their maiden Test fifties to help India gain the upperhand after the middle and lower order had failed to come good with the bat.

Earlier, opener Murali Vijay top scored with a splendid innings of 146 while skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni made 82 to build India's total on Day 2 before they stumbled in the post lunch session.

Bhuvneshwar frustrated England with some resolute batting and reached his maiden Test fifty immediately after tea in 133 balls, in the 157th over of the innings. Shami was not to be left behind as he smashed James Anderson for a six over the long-off boundary in the last ball of the same over to bring up his own maiden Test fifty off 73 balls.

With his pacers tiring out and devoid of any ideas, Cook brought back part-timer Moeen Ali into the attack in the 161st over and the move worked as Bhuvneshwar was holed out to Joe Root as mid-on
while going for a big shot to drew curtains to the stunning last-wicket partnership.

Bhuvneshwar scored his runs off 149 balls with the help of five fours, while Shami remained unbeaten on 51 off 81 balls during which he hit six boundaries and one six.

England's bowling figures didn't make for a happy reading. Anderson (3/123) was their best bowler, while Stuart Broad (2/53) and Ben Stokes (2/81) bowled their hearts out. Liam Plunkett (1/88) and Ali (1/97) were the other wicket-takers for the hosts, who took nearly three hours to claim the last wicket.

In the morning session, thanks to Vijay's 146 and Dhoni, India were placed comfortably at 342 for five in 118 overs at lunch.

Along with Dhoni, Vijay survived a testing morning spell from Broad and Anderson. They were aided by English wicket-keeper Matt Prior who dropping a simple catch off Dhoni (50) in only the third over of the day.

The duo persisted and brought up their 100-run partnership in the 11th over of the day and the 101st of the innings. Vijay then slowly progressed towards his 150-run mark but when he was just one scoring shot away, he was trapped leg before wicket by Anderson in his second spell of the morning.

Television replays, however, suggested that the ball might have travelled over the stumps, but the umpire thought otherwise. He faced 361 balls during his superb innings and batted for nearly eight hours, hitting 25 fours and one six.

The only time England enjoyed some dominance in the day was in the post-lunch session when they rocked the Indian middle-order by picking up four quick wickets.

India suffered a jolt immediately after lunch as Jadeja was caught behind, trying to cut Stokes away. He scored 25 runs off 24 balls with the help of two fours and as many sixes.

A couple of overs later, England claimed the big wicket of Dhoni, who set off for a quick single but was caught short by a direct hit from Anderson at mid-off. He scored 82 runs after facing 152 balls, which included seven fours.

Three balls later, debutant Stuart Binny (1) was dismissed by Stokes as India lost three wickets in just 14 balls for the addition of one run.

If that was not enough, Broad then cleaned up Ishant Sharma (1) as India slumped to 346 for nine from from 344 for six in the matter of a few overs.

Bhuvneshwar and Shami fought off bravely against England's pace bowlers, who troubled them a lot early with well directed short balls.

They frustrated the English bowlers for an hour until tea, bringing up their 50-run partnership in the 140th over of the innings.[/img]