Vijay leads India's sedate progress

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Murali Vijay's century was the highlight of the first day at Trent Bridge Murali Vijay's century was the highlight of the first day at Trent Bridge

Murali Vijay made England's bowlers toil in unresponsive conditions as India induced a successful slow grind on day one of the Investec Test series at Trent Bridge.

Vijay's fourth Test century, and first outside India, underpinned a total of 259 for four as Alastair Cook's hosts kept going admirably but to little avail.

Sunny skies and a docile pitch were England's enemy, after Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss, and Vijay batted all day for an unbeaten 122 from 294 balls.

The India opener shared half-century stands with Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and finally his captain Dhoni (50no), who helped to put on an unbroken 81.

Vijay grabbed the impetus for the tourists with a rush of early boundaries off James Anderson on his way past 50 in only 68 balls - but thereafter he was in no hurry.

There were nonetheless some memorable cover and square-drives in particular among his 20 fours whenever England erred in length or gave him some width.

It was soon clear wicket-taking options were limited by the lack of life in a surface groundsman Steve Birks later admitted he had hoped would be much quicker.

England conceded 106 for one before lunch, in 30 overs, as Vijay coasted past his half-century with 11 fours.

His first three boundaries came from successive deliveries in Anderson's first over of the match - two controlled edges down to vacant third-man and the third off his pads.

Anderson had his 50th Test victim at this ground when Shikhar Dhawan pushed forward and edged to the diving Matt Prior.

But otherwise, he had no joy in a seven-over new-ball spell which cost 40 runs.

There were already ominous indications of the pitch's limitations, Liam Plunkett twice seeing apparent attempted bouncers from round the wicket making landfall twice before they reached Prior.

Cook had plenty to ponder therefore as he ran through five bowling changes, and all his options, in vain search for a second wicket as Vijay and Pujara closed out the morning in a partnership of 73.

The afternoon began very differently.

Cook switched Anderson to the pavilion end, in partnership with the ultra-economy of Stuart Broad again, and set inventive fields to try to make something happen.

It very soon did, Anderson finding a modicum of inswing with a slower ball as Pujara mistimed a drive and was very well caught by Ian Bell, diving one-handed to his right at a short and very straight mid-on.

Broad's second spell either side of lunch read 6-4-5-1, his wicket coming after Cook brought a second slip in from the off-side ring to the new batsman and Virat Kohli compliantly followed a touch of movement off the pitch to be neatly caught by Bell.

Rahane edged an attempted drive at Broad just short of the same fielder as England's two senior pace bowlers continued to dry up the run rate.

Ultimately, though, Vijay and Rahane passed the patience test to put India back in charge by late afternoon.

England had to wait until after tea for the next, and last reward, for their efforts.

Rahane escaped one chance in Cook's direction at silly point, looping but falling short, as Plunkett went round the wicket again; then, without addition three balls later, an attempted pull somehow toe-ended straight into the England captain's midriff to end a stand of 71.

Vijay's progress stalled dramatically on the last lap towards his century as he spent 48 balls in the 90s, and 14 on 99 before scampering his 100th run with a single to midwicket.

The opener stayed the course, though, alongside Dhoni - who began slowly but was soon helping to farm comfortable runs off Moeen Ali's off-breaks.

Plunkett summoned the energy to hit Vijay on the forearm with a short ball, in the 80th over.

But when the second new ball failed to bring another breakthrough for England, Dhoni posting his 64-ball 50 just before stumps, the obvious expectation was that India will reach a substantial rather than formidable first-innings total here.

Vijay did not score off the last 35 balls he faced - but had ensured already his team hold the early advantage in a match which will continue to unfold only slowly.

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