England v India: Murali Vijay century repels hosts in first Test

By Sam SheringhamBBC Sport at Trent Bridge
India's Murali Vijay
Murali Vijay's century was the 100th made in Tests at Trent Bridge
First Test, Trent Bridge (day one)
India 259-4 v England

Murali Vijay hit an unbeaten century but industrious bowling and athletic fielding helped England restrict India to 259-4 on a lifeless Trent Bridge pitch on the first day of the five-Test series.

In conditions more akin to Nagpur than Nottingham, India opener Vijay batted throughout the day to score an accomplished unbeaten 122, and captain Mahendra Dhoni was 50 not out in an unbroken partnership of 81.

But England's quartet of seamers never lost heart, responding well to a difficult morning as skipper Alastair Cook was rewarded for attacking field placings with quick wickets after lunch and tea.

Stuart Broad was the pick of the bowlers with 1-26 off 19 overs at his home ground, while there were two wickets for James Anderson and one for Liam Plunkett. Ben Stokes, recalled in place of Chris Jordan, bowled 19 economical overs.

Test Match Special analysis: Former India captain Rahul Dravid on Vijay's century
"It was a magnificent innings by Vijay. After scoring a hundred there would have been the temptation to play a few shots and get the scoreboard moving, but he recognises he has an important role to play. He needed to be there when the new ball came along and was willing to be patient."

Anderson agreed that England were "amazing hosts" when asked if they were failing to make the most of home advantage.

"We're probably as frustrated as everyone else is watching," he said. "We had a good day, all in all - we toiled away on a really placid pitch."

However, the absence of frontline spinner was exposed as Moeen Ali conceded 50 off nine overs and was dismissively crashed for a straight six by Vijay in the final hour of the day.

Moeen was one of four players with fewer than five Test caps in an England side desperately seeking to end a run of eight Tests without a victory.

India are also a team in transition. Since their 4-0 defeat by England in 2011, star batsmen Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman have all retired, leaving six of their top seven playing their first Test on English soil.

The unfamiliar surroundings did not unnerve Vijay, who got off to a flyer with three fours in the first over of the day before settling down to anchor the innings.

He spent 13 balls on 99 before bringing up his fourth Test century off 214 balls with a flick to square leg.

The morning had belonged entirely to India as they scored 106 runs for the loss of one wicket, that of Shikhar Dhawan, superbly caught one-handed by wicketkeeper Matt Prior off Anderson.

The pitch was so benign that by the end of the session Broad was bowling with only a single slip in place.

England's day was revived by an inspired field placing by under-pressure captain Cook.

Clearly bowling to a plan in the second over after lunch, Anderson held back some pace and drew a mistimed drive from Cheteshwar Pujara which was athletically taken by Ian Bell at silly mid-on.

England v India Test series
9-13 JulyFirst Test, Trent Bridge
17-21 JulySecond Test, Lord's
27-31 JulyThird Test, Southampton
7-11 AugustFourth Test, Old Trafford
15-19 AugustFifth Test, The Oval

With a Test average of 50.36 at number four, the stylish Virat Kohli has been talked about as the natural heir to Tendulkar. But his first Test innings in England lasted only eight balls as he edged Broad to Bell at second slip.

Rattled by the sudden momentum shift and the extra step in the stride of England's seamers, India knuckled down and barely scored a run for the next hour.

They successfully took the sting out of England's attack and began scoring more freely later in the session before taking tea on 177-3.

Cook brought himself in at silly point after tea and once again the change of tactic paid instant dividends as Ajinkya Rahane toe-ended a pull off Plunkett straight to the skipper.

Anderson described Cook's performance as "brilliant", adding: "He worked really well with the bowlers. We had a lot of discussions about field placings. We had to get a bit funky at times."

However, England's pursuit of further wickets was thwarted by Vijay and Dhoni.

Dhoni, who is yet to score a Test hundred outside Asia, was characteristically positive as he brought up his 30th Test fifty from 64 deliveries in the final over of the day.

Listen to Geoffrey Boycott and Jonathan Agnew review the day's play on the Test Match Special podcast.

India's Murali Vijay
Murali Vijay's three previous Test centuries all came against Australia
Alastair Cook catches Ajinkya Rahane at silly point shortly after tea
Alastair Cook catches Ajinkya Rahane at silly point shortly after tea
England's James Anderson
James Anderson recovered from conceding 12 in his opening over to claim 2-70 from 22 overs

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