sport

Ballance: India still in it

Gary Ballance says England still have plenty of work to do despite building a sizeable first-innings lead against India in the fifth Test at the Kia Oval.

The hosts finished the second day on 385-7 - an advantage of 237 - and seem well on course for a win which would wrap-up a 3-1 series victory.

The tourists need to win if they are to finish level overall but their chances are slim given the deficit they will have to deal with at the start of their second innings.

But Ballance, who contributed 64 runs to England's cause on Saturday, is wary of writing off Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side.

"I don't think so yet. It's Test cricket, it's tough,\" the left-hander told Sky Sports.

\"You're not going to win a Test in two days but we (want) another good day tomorrow, try and score as many as we can and then bowl well in the third innings.\"

He added of day two: "It's been a great day. Yesterday went well but we still had to bat well on a pitch that was doing a bit. It's great that we've batted well, batted all day and given ourselves a good lead."

Joe Root led the way with an unbeaten 92 while Ballance and captain Alastair Cook (79) were the other major contributors as England passed India's total of 148 with ease.

There was something of sticky patch in the afternoon session when England lost four wickets for 38 runs, but Ballance's Yorkshire team-mate Root steadied the ship expertly.

"It's just the way Rooty's been playing. We lost a few wickets and he decided to try and put the bowlers under pressure and he did that very well," Ballance said.

"He scored quickly and he's put us in a great position."

Ballance, who put on 125 for the second wicket with Cook, is keen to continue a good run of form which has seen him average a shade over 60 in eight Tests.

"I started the season feeling quite good, started the County Championship quite well and I've just pulled the form in. It's nice to get a few good scores and put the team into a good position," he said.

He added: "When you're in form, you've got to work as hard as you do as when you're out of form. It doesn't come around often and you've got to be as greedy as you can and try and score as many runs as you can when you're batting well."

However, Ballance was disappointed not to go on an reach his century, departing in peculiar fashion has he tamely chipped a seemingly innocuous ball from Ravi Ashwin to silly point.

He said: \"It was disappointing to be honest. I felt like I was going nicely there. It just bounced a bit and I played at a ball that I shouldn't have. But that's how it goes, you've got to learn from it and move on.\"