England pacer Liam Plunkett feels that second Test against India hangs in the balance after three days of cricket.
“The match is quite balanced at the moment. It is very even between both sides,” said Plunkett after the day’s play.
“In the morning, if we can nick a couple of wickets quickly then the match will swing in our favour. If you get in at Lord’s it is a good wicket to bat on and you can chase the targets down. So anything they give us should be chase-able,” Plunkett told reporters at the end of the day’s play.
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When pressed about what target England will prefer to chase, he replied,”There’s not much variable bounce at the moment. The sun is out and it will bake the pitch and it will get flatter. I think 250-300 should be an ideal score.”
Plunkett played a key role for England on day three when he scored his maiden Test fifty in the morning session and helped his side take a slender 24-run lead thanks to a 51-run partnership with Matt Prior.
“When I came out to bat last evening as the night watchman, the new ball was due. So I tried not to play certain shots. Jimmy Anderson has shown that runs at the end are quite crucial. In the morning, then we tried scoring at five runs at a time,” he said.
“But both Matt and me are aggressive players, so saw the ball and scored off them. This got out partnership going,” he said.
“I take great pride in my batting. I am working hard on it. I got the freedom to play my shots today. It feels good to get the fifty,” he added.
Then, he was handed the ball in the middle session and came up with a devastating spell, removing both Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli off consecutive balls. He was on a hat-trick but missed out.
“They were 70-odd for one. I thought if I could nip a few out here that would leave them at 100/4. I felt good bowling then, in good rhythm and I changed lengths because I got it wrong in the first innings.
“Then I got two wickets in two balls. I am an aggressive bowler and that has got me back in the England team. It is all about judging line to ball,” he said.
“But the hat-trick ball was not a good delivery. It was a bit wide one. I wanted to get it in line like the last two. You always try to bowl in line to a new batsman, but I was off on that one,” he added.
While the Trent Bridge pitch was termed as poor, this lively Lord’s wicket has also come in for some attention, this time for providing some entertaining cricket. The question remains though as to how it will behave in the final two days.
“The pitch is going to get flatter. There is not too much variable bounce. If we can nick a couple wickets off quickly in the morning, we will get to chase as little as possible,” he signed off.