sport

Vijay ton puts India on top

Murali Vijay registered his first century away from home as India made an impressive start to the Test series against England, ending day one at Trent Bridge on 259-4.

The tourists made the most of the chance to bat first on a benign surface on a beautiful day in Nottingham, opener Vijay leading the way as he made an unbeaten 122.

England - looking to bounce back after their series defeat to Sri Lanka - tried valiantly throughout proceedings. They struck once in the morning session then gave themselves a glimmer of hope by taking two wickets in as many overs after lunch.

However, Ajinkya Rahane (32) shared in a fourth-wicket stand of 71 to steady the India ship before Mahendra Singh Dhoni (50 not out) came out to accompany Vijay through to three figures, adding another 81 with few alarms.

Dhoni reached his half-century just before the close of play, rounding out an excellent day for his team that had begun with their leader calling correctly at the toss. He couldn't have told Alastair Cook any quicker what he wanted to do after match referee David Boon confirmed he'd called correctly.

James Anderson enjoyed a milestone moment early on when Shikar Dhawan became his 50th Test wicket at the venue, wicketkeeper Matt Prior - fit to play after an injury scare on Tuesday - taking an excellent catch diving to his left.

With Prior available the only change for the hosts saw Ben Stokes replace Chris Jordan. The Durham all-rounder bowled 18 wicketless overs, though there was a concern when he seemed to have a problem with his side whilst bowling.

On a low, slow wicket lacking in life England will not want to be without one of their frontline bowlers, particularly with a desire not to over-burden their seamers ahead of a packed summer schedule.

India's attack, in contrast, spent the entire day with their feet up, enjoying watching their top-order cash in.

Vijay - who had managed just 48 runs in four innings on India's tour of New Zealand earlier this year - was quickly up and running with a succession of boundaries down to the vacant third man region, but his fellow opener Dhawan was not so fortunate when Anderson found his outside edge.

England were made to wait for further success due to a second-wicket stand worth 73, only to then strike twice in 10 balls.

Cheteshwar Pujara perished for 38 to a sensational catch by Ian Bell, who held on with one hand as he dived to his right at short mid-on to give Anderson his second wicket of the innings.

The same fielder then held a much more straightforward effort off Stuart Broad, this time at second slip, to send Virat Kohli back for just a single. The right-hander was unable to resist following an away swinger, steering the ball straight at a rather close Bell.

The double strike was a welcome boost for England, though bat was soon dominating ball again as Rahane and Vijay patiently put together a partnership.

Liam Plunkett ended the alliance not long after tea, his barrage of bouncers paying off, albeit in rather comical fashion when Rahane toe-ended an attempted pull shot to a rather surprised Cook at silly point.

Vijay continued through to his fourth Test ton in the company of his captain. By the close he had hit 20 fours and a solitary six, the maximum coming with a minimum of fuss when he lofted spinner Moeen Ali down the ground.