Familiar script returns to haunt India

Author : Salman Khan 9 Sep, 2018

Big Picture: India failed to seize yet another opportunity when they allowed England to add 134 runs for their last three wickets on the second day of the fifth and final Test at The Oval in London on Saturday (September 8). The hosts, led by Jos Buttler (89) who added 98 runs for the 9th wicket with Stuart Broad (38), were eventually bowled out for 332 shortly after lunch and rallied to reduce India to 174 for 6, who are still 158 runs adrift and in danger of conceding a huge first-innings lead.

On his return to the Test side, Ravindra Jadeja was India’s most successful bowler with 4 for 79 while Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah accounted for three wickets apiece. The Indian batsmen showed promise with Cheteshwar Puraja and KL Rahul tallying 37 each, and Virat Kohli scoring a breezy 49, but none of them went on to get a big score which India desperately needed. For England, James Anderson and Ben Stokes picked two wickets each.

Plays of the Day

India's innings was going nowhere when they were reeling at 103 for 4. But Kohli, who has been a couple of notches above the rest of the batsmen in this series, was still out there and England were wary of the Indian captain's ability to take the game away from them. But his problems on that fourth stump line, which most people thought was behind him, was brutally exposed when Ben Stokes got him to drive on an away going length delivery. Kohli played at it with hard hands and away from his body and could only edge it to Joe Root at second slip. Kohli's wicket was the final nail in the coffin as far as England were concerned.

Performer of the Day

After bowling England to a win at Lord's, Anderson wasn't exactly at his best in the next two Tests. It has been a different story at The Oval. The ball started to seam and swing in the final session and Anderson used the conditions to his advantage to break a promising partnership between Pujara and Kohli when he got the former to edge one to the wicket-keeper. He struck again six balls later to send back Ajinkya Rahane for a blob when the Indian vice-captain nicked one which tailed back in late to first slip. The twin strikes hurt India dearly and handed England a huge advantage in this dead rubber.

Next up

England are already into India's lower order, which hasn't contributed at all in this series so far. They would aim to keep the lead over 100 and then build on it to bat India out of the contest. On the other end of the spectrum, India would hope their lower order can take a leaf out of England's book and score vital runs. It was another day which exposed India's vulnerability against the moving ball, a familiar theme throughout the series which is, perhaps, reflected in the series scoreline.

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