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Pumped-up Plunkett powers England

By Callum Dent

Liam Plunkett sparked England into life with both bat and ball to put India under pressure on the third day of the second Investec Test at Lord’s.

The 29-year-old produced an array of shots all round the wicket in compiling a maiden five-day half-century that lifted his side to a first-innings 319 this morning.

Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara overcame the loss of Shikhar Dhawan to take India’s lead to 94 with a 54-run second-wicket stand, but the introduction of Plunkett at the Nursery End late-afternoon helped England claw themselves back into the game.

The paceman, during an impressive spell that read 7-3-11-2, triggered a collapse that saw the tourists lose three wickets for five runs in 18 balls by dismissing Pujara and Virat Kohli with back-to-back deliveries.

But from 123 for four, Vijay - with 59 - and Mahendra Singh Dhoni led a recovery with an unbroken partnership of 46 to guide India to 169 for foura lead of 145, at the close.

The hosts did not have it all their own way this morning as their early momentum, generated by the positive Plunkett and Matt Prior, was derailed by losing a trio of scalps in 26 balls.

England paceman Liam Plunkett wheels away in delight after bowling India batsman Virat Kohli, his second dismissal in as many deliveries

After bringing up the fifty partnership with Plunkett, Prior skied an attempted pull shot to Dhawan, running back from first slip to hold on off Mohammed Shami, before Bhuvneshwar dismissed Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad in the space of three deliveries to return figures of 6-82, his second successive five-for.

However, Plunkett completed his fifty, off 75 balls, in a 39-run 10th-wicket stand with James Anderson, who reverse-swept Ravindra Jadeja to first slip to signal the end of the their innings.

That left India’s openers with a tricky four-over spell before lunch that they negotiated successfully before moving ahead once more.

With Dhawan dominating the opening stand with Vijay, England searched for inspiration.

Joe Root duly delivered when the Yorkshireman dived to his left to catch an attempted cut shot from the dangerous Dhawan, on 31, off a wide Stokes delivery.

That was the only breakthrough England made in the second session as Vijay and Pujara combined effectively, the latter taking control as the former dug in.

That was highlighted in the pair’s half-century stand, which arrived at the start of the evening's play, with Pujara contributing 28 to Vijay’s 17.

Opening batsman Murali Vijay goes on the attack during a crucial innings that helped extend India's lead to 145 at the close on day three

Signs of uneven bounce crept in during Stokes’ spell from the Nursery End after the interval, none more so than when a delivery that kept low was followed by a ball that lifted off a length and rapped Pujara on the tip of the finger.

Alastair Cook’s decision to replace Stokes was justified when Plunkett lifted England with his double strike.

The Yorkshire fast bowler, in the second over of his spell, had Pujara caught behind by Prior, the wicketkeeper becoming the first to complete 50 dismissals at Lord’s in the process, before Kohli shouldered arms at a ball that crept in and bowled him.

First-innings centurion Ajinyka Rahane left the hat-trick ball but did not last much longer, fending off a Broad bouncer to a diving Prior, although replays showed it clearly hit his arm guard.

Dhoni, happy to leave the ball, nearly became the architect of his own downfall when on a number of occasions he survived loud lbw appeals.

But Vijay went on to complete his back-to-back second-innings fifty, off 162 balls, seeing out the day alongside his captain. 

Match scorecard  /  Live ball-by-ball commentary

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Evening Session  

Liam Plunkett took two wickets in successive balls including the key scalp of Virat Kohli who was bowled first ball

6.30pm - STUMPS! Ind 169/4; Vijay 59, Dhoni 12 - There was one more set of six remaining, bowled by Moeen Ali. Vijay and Dhoni took the sting out of England's charge with an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 46. Their lead is 145. All to play for tomorrow!

6.26pm - Dhoni shuffles across his stumps and is almost bowled round his legs by the returning Plunkett. This could well be the last over of the day. 

6.14pm - Anderson's bouncer swings out of the grasp of a diving Prior and races away for four. The byes column reads 15 now. 

6.01pm - Stokes will be hoping to replicate Plunkett's heroics as he replaces his fellow paceman. Plunkett's impressive spell was 7-3-11-2. 

5.58pm - FIFTY! Vijay (162b 7x4) - Vijay takes Anderson for two fours to move to a half-century. He has stood firm over the last half an hour. A solid knock. 

5.42pm -  Dhoni shoulders arms and gets away with another lbw appeal, again from Plunkett. It looked a little high. 

5.36pm - Plunkett continues to charge in from the Nursery End and has a huge lbw appeal turned down against Dhoni, who gets his pad outside the line. India are under pressure here. There are 19 overs left in the day, but we may not get through all of them.  

5.30pm - Mahendra Singh Dhoni slashes at a wide Broad delivery and sees it fly just over the slips for four.  

5.20pm - WICKET! Rahane c Prior b Broad 5; Ind 123/4 - England have another! Broad delivers a fine bouncer that Rahane fends off and Matt Prior races round to his left to take a diving catch. Replays show the ball cannoned off the arm guard. Poor decision. 

5.04pm - Plunkett wastes the hat-trick ball, delivering one wide outside off stump that first-innings centurion Ajinkya Rahane easily leaves. 

5pm - WICKET! Kohli b Plunkett 0; Ind 118/3 - Plunkett is on a hat-trick! What a delivery to remove Virat Kohli first ball. The right-hander leaves one that creeps back in and clips top of off stump. 

4.58pm - WICKET! Pujara c Prior b Plunkett 43; Ind 118/2 - A big wicket for England. Pujara pushes away from his body and Plunkett has him caught behind in his second over since coming on for Stokes. 

4.54pm - Liam Plunkett replaces Stokes and, at the other end, Broad's lbw appeal is turned down due to Pujara getting an inside edge on to pad. 

4.42pm - Vijay cracks Stokes through the covers to take India into three figures, extending their lead to 79 in the process. Although the bowler responds with another delivery that shoots and beats the bat, Vijay guides down to third man for another boundary. 

4.34pm - Pujara seems to have shaken off the problem as he flashes a cut wide of point for four off Stokes. 

4.29pm - Pujara takes a nasty blow on the tip of the finger from another Stokes delivery that lifts off a length. The right-hander looks in pain. 

4.23pm - Murali Vijay flicks a single off his hips to take his stand with Pujara to 50 off 131 balls. 

4.20pm - Ben Stokes gets one to kick off a length to Cheteshwar Pujara early in the evening session. A bit of uneven bounce is starting to happen. At the other end, James Anderson looks to be bowling slightly shorter since the resumption. 

Afternoon Session   

Joe Root's stunning catch gave the Lord's crowd something to cheer but the afternoon session belonged to India

3.40pm - TEA! Ind 84/1; Vijay 21, Pujara 25 - Vijay survives a loud lbw appeal off Moeen on the stroke of tea, replays showing the ball going over the top. India will be very happy with that session. They lead by 60. 

3.35pm - Vijay, on 16 off 79 balls, shows unseen aggression as he walks down the pitch and lofts Moeen over mid-on for four. 

3.27pm - Pujara creams a Plunkett half volley to the cover boundary. Anderson then comes back on to bowl, this time from the Nursery End. Wickets needed. 

3.17pm - Home skipper Alastair Cook turns to Moeen Ali at the Pavilion End, replacing Broad. This is turning out to be a slow-moving session as India try to build their lead, which is currently 41. 

2.58pm - Vijay, as watchful as ever, collects his first boundary from his 56th ball by flicking Stuart Broad off his hips. Liam Plunkett, England's hero with the bat, is thrown the ball from the Nursery End. 

2.52pm - Cheteshwar Pujara plays a beautiful drive through the covers for four off Stokes to help India pass 50. 

2.30pm - WICKET! Dhawan c Root b Stokes 31; Ind 40/1 - What a catch from Joe Root! Just the inspiration England were looking for. The dangerous Dhawan, dominating the opening stand with Vijay, cannot keep a cut shot down and Root dives to his left at point to snaffle a superb two-handed catch. 

2.07pm -   England, struggling for a breakthrough, turn to Ben Stokes for inspiration. India are nine runs ahead on 33 without loss. 

1.56pm - Shikhar Dhawan and Vijay both drive Anderson for three. The outfield seems to be slowing up a little.  

1.46pm - Murali Vijay punches James Anderson down the ground for a couple before edging just short of a diving Matt Prior. That would have been an extremely tough chance if it had carried. 

Morning Session  

Liam Plunkett scored his maiden Test half-century as England went past India's first innings total

1pm - LUNCH! Ind 11/0; Vijay 0, Dhawan 10 - India survive a tricky four-over spell before the interval. Wickets will be on the menu for England after the resumption. 

12.56pm - Dhawan squirts Broad through the gully region for India's first boundary. In the next over, Anderson has a huge lbw appeal against Murali Vijay turned down.

12.35pm - WICKET AND END OF INNINGS! Anderson c Rahane b Jadeja 19; Eng 319 all out -  Anderson reverse-sweeps Ravindra Jadeja to first slip and England are dismissed for 319, a lead of 24. Plunkett finished unbeaten on 55. 

12.30pm - FIFTY! Plunkett (75b 8x4 0x6) - Plunkett has been fantastic with the bat this morning. He cracks two consecutive fours off Buvneshwar and then takes a single into the off side to reach his maiden Test half-century.  

12.25pm - England's number 11 is continuing where he left off at Trent Bridge, crashing Shami through the covers for his third four. The hosts are 305 for nine. 

12.20pm -  James Anderson drives Bhuvneshwar on the up past mid-off for four to take England into the lead. 

12.02pm - WICKET! Broad c Dhawan b Bhuvneshwar 4; Eng 280/9 - Stuart Broad provides Dhawan with a second catch by edging Bhuvneshwar to the slips the ball after getting off the mark with a fierce cut shot. 

11.58am - WICKET! Stokes b Bhuvneshwar 0; Eng 276/8 - Bhuvneshwar has five wickets after Ben Stokes misses a drive and is bowled for a second successive duck. England are 19 runs behind. 

11.55am - Plunkett, forced to kick the ball away from his stumps in the previous over, edges Ishant past the slips for four. The Yorkshire all-rounder has 36 to his name. 

11.40am - WICKET! Prior c Dhawan b Shami 23; Eng 265/7 -  Prior brings up the fifty partnership, pushing Shami through mid-on. But he then attempts to pull a ball that was not short enough and skies a catch to Shikhar Dhawan, who makes up a lot of ground from first slip to hold on. 

11.35am - Ishant, on at the other end, is crashed through the covers and then pulled for four in successive deliveries by Plunkett, who has found the rope a quartet of times in 12 balls. 

11.32am - Prior and Plunkett take boundaries either side of the wicket in Shami's next over. England are looking very positive. 

11.21am - Mohammed Shami, replacing Ishant, has an eventful first set of six. After delivering a bouncer over the top of wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for four byes, Prior edges just short of first slip before clipping the dangerous seamer to the midwicket boundary. 

11.17am - Matt Prior collects the first boundary of the morning in the fourth over, flicking Bhuvneshwar Kumar to the fine-leg rope. 

11.12am -  Nightwatchman Liam Plunkett shows his batting capabilities by punching Ishant Sharma, operating from the Nursery End, through the covers for three.

Pre-Play News

10.56am -  Former England Women’s cricketer Claire Taylor rings the bell and the players make their way onto the field. 

10.50am -  Gary Ballance’s second successive Test hundred at Lord’s kept England in the game yesterday and, in his post-match interview last night, the 24-year-old hoped England could replicate India’s lower-order heroics from day one. Nightwatchman Liam Plunkett and Matt Prior will be at the crease come 11am. 

10.40am - The rain seems to have cleared and the covers are off, meaning play should start on time. Mugginess mixed with plenty of cloud cover suggests the conditions will be better suited to bowling this morning. 

10.30am - Good morning and welcome to live coverage of day three of the second Investec Test between England and India at Lord's.   

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