England v India: Gary Ballance hits century but tourists hold edge

By Sam SheringhamBBC Sport at Lord's
England's Gary Ballance
England's Gary Ballance has scored at least 71 in his last four England innings
Second Test, Lord's (day two)
India 295 v England 219-6

England batsman Gary Ballance struck his second successive Lord's century, but two late wickets gave India the edge in the second Test.

Ballance scored 110 in a partnership of 98 with Moeen Ali (32) to revive England from 113-4 following a top-order slump in which struggling captain Alastair Cook managed only 10.

But when Moeen and Ballance fell in the final half hour of a baking-hot London day, the momentum swung back in India's favour, with England closing on 219-6 in reply to the tourists' 295.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was comfortably the pick of India's bowlers, getting the ball to swing from a full length and claiming 4-46.

He was ably supported by India's other seamers, who nagged away at a probing line, and spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Murali Vijay, who both chipped in with a wicket.

Ex-England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on Test Match Special
"Gary Ballance - bad boy does good. He's a scrapper with great determination. He is mentally strong, has a big heart and he's up for the challenge. I take my hat off to the lad. If you have seven or eight guys like him, you are quids in and can make a team out of that."
Listen to Geoffrey Boycott review the second day's play in the Test Match Special podcast

Ballance, who was this week pictured shirtless in a Nottingham nightclub, nicked between wicketkeeper and first slip on 32, but played a mature and calculated innings to drag England out of danger.

It was not until he had reached 80 that he really opened his shoulders, driving and cutting Stuart Binny for successive boundaries and bringing up his hundred off 186 balls with a crisp on-drive.

He scored 104 not out against Sri Lanka at Lord's last month, having made 130 for Yorkshire against Middlesex in the County Championship earlier this season in his first first-class game at the ground.

Moeen lashed his first ball from spinner Jadeja over mid-on for four but was a model of calm for the majority of his 106-ball innings until he lost concentration against Vijay's part-time spin and was lbw missing a flick to leg.

Ballance's fine innings was ended in the third over with the second new ball as he got a thin edge down the leg side.

It is not the first time this summer that England have relied on one of their bright new batting talents to atone for the failings of their more established stars.

Stat of the day
Gary Ballance is only the third England player to score hundreds in his first two Lord's Tests, after Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott

While the scrutiny over Cook's position as captain and opening batsman intensifies with every low score, Ian Bell finds himself in a similar rut.

The Warwickshire batsman, who was out tamely as he gloved an attempted leave to third slip, has made only four fifties and no hundreds in 18 Test innings since the third of his centuries in his golden Ashes summer of 2013.

Cook actually made an encouraging start to his innings, looking solid in defence and leaving adroitly outside off stump.

But he was undone by some clever bowling by Kumar, who set him up with some inswingers before shaping one away, drawing a tentative push and finding the edge.

Cook, who swished his bat in anger before departing to stunned silence, has not scored a century since May 2013 against New Zealand. Since then he has averaged 23.69 in 14 Tests, with a highest score of 72.

Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan on Test Match Special
"India have bowled well and if they had held their two dropped chances, they could have bowled England out today. India are just ahead at this stage."

Sam Robson, dropped on eight by Ajinkya Rahane at second slip off Mohammed Shami, was out for 17 when he edged a flashing drive to Dhoni.

For the second innings in a row, Bell's indecisiveness was his undoing. Caught between playing and leaving, he allowed the ball to cushion off his glove and loop to Jadeja in the slips.

Joe Root has scored a 150 and a double-hundred this summer, but this was not to be his day. The Yorkshireman was harshly given out lbw to a skidding delivery from Jadeja, as Hot Spot detected a thick inside edge.

After their travails on Thursday, when India recovered from 145-7 to 290-9 on a green, seam-friendly pitch, England needed only 10 balls to take the final wicket on Friday morning.

Shami nicked Ben Stokes to first slip, where Cook clung on to a juggling catch at the second attempt.

It was the only piece of good fortune the England skipper would enjoy on another gruelling day.

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

England captain Alastair Cook
England captain Alastair Cook has not passed 28 in six Test innings this summer
India's Ravindra Jadeja traps Joe Root lbw
Ravindra Jadeja traps Joe Root for 13, although replays showed an inside edge
England's Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali spent 106 balls making 32, adding 98 with Gary Ballance in 32 overs

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