London: Murali Vijay fell five short of a deserving century while Ravindra Jadeja`s unbeaten blitzkrieg extended India`s lead to 243 runs at lunch after England had rocked them with three quick wickets in the morning session on day four of the second Test at Lord`s here Sunday.
Jadeja smashed six boundaries on his way to 37 off 30 balls and helped India reach 267 for seven after wickets of Mahendra Singh Dhoni (19), Stuart Binny (0) and Murali Vijay (95) had given the hosts the initiative.
India made a predictably slow start to the proceedings by being extremely cautious.
Both Vijay and Dhoni left alone the balls outside the off-stump. The English players didn`t bowl all that well in the first hour but a positive outcome was that they only let India eke out 34 runs.
Dhoni batted for 86 balls for his 19, his slowest test innings when scoring 10 or more. The Indian captain had all morning refrained from poking outside the off-stump but old habits are hard to overcome and once again Dhoni prodded at a good length ball, managing to get an outside edge that was smartly taken by Ian Bell at second slip.
Binny`s lack of experience and temperament came to the fore in the very next over as he went for an ambitious lofted shot off the bowling of Moeen Ali but was brilliantly caught by English captain Alastair Cook.
All Binny needed to do was to give company to Vijay, who was batting well, at the crease but only managed to play a shot that might spell doom for his Test career.
Jadeja and Vijay then took the attack to the English bowlers adding 32 runs off just 35 balls but a flirt outside off-stump from the Indian opener ended his commendable run at the crease.
Jadeja refused to be tied down even after England took the new ball. The man referred to as `Sir Jadeja`, thanks to his exploits in the domestic circuit, smashed the English pacers all over the park to put the pressure back on England.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been the star with both the bat and the ball, played the perfect sheet anchor role, giving as much strike to Jadeja.
England, who haven`t chased anything above 200 since 2008 when they beat New Zealand at Old Trafford, looked a little shell-shocked by Jadeja`s aggression.