Vijay homework pays off as India take upper hand

Frank Dalleres
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INDIA batsman Murali Vijay revealed how he practised for facing James Anderson by studying videos of the England seamer after plundering an unbeaten century on day one of the first Test at Trent Bridge.

Anderson managed two wickets but was unable to snare opener Vijay, who batted through the day on a flat, unresponsive wicket as the tourists reached 259-4 at stumps.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni also made 50 not out before close, yet England could take encouragement from dogged bowling, agile fielding and the tactical bravery of skipper Alastair Cook.

Vijay was one of several Indians playing their first Test cricket in this country but his adaptation was aided by pre-match homework and guidance from coach Duncan Fletcher, formerly of England.

“I’ve worked a lot with videos of James Anderson,” Vijay said after his fourth Test hundred. “The first 15 minutes are the toughest thing as an opener. I wanted to play straight and late. Duncan Fletcher has helped a lot because he knows how things work in these conditions. We were working for two weeks before we came out here.”

Stuart Broad, playing at his home ground, chipped in with a miserly 1-26 off 19 overs, while Liam Plunkett was rewarded for some thankless seam bowling with a wicket.

Ben Stokes, recalled in favour of Chris Jordan, was also economical, but India revelled in Moeen Ali’s spin, hitting 50 off his nine overs.

“It was a frustrating day,” said Anderson. “You don’t mind a pitch being flat but you want the nicks to carry. We played around with the tactics throughout the day.

“I went really straight with a straight field and that worked really well and then we just tinkered with it, just trying to figure out what would get wickets. When the nicks aren’t carrying you have to find other ways.”