DateLine: 9th September 2018
By Andy Jalil at the Oval
Poor India batting puts England in commanding position in fifth Test
Facing an England first innings total of 332, which had looked unlikely until the last two wickets had added 118 valuable runs, India began poorly losing Shekhar Dhawan to the first ball of the second over with Stuart Broad trapping him in front of the stumps with just six runs on the board. The innings appeared to be revived when KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara took the total to 70 but shortly after tea with the second change in the bowling, Sam Curran was brought on and India lost KL Rahul for 37.
It was an excellent ball from the young left-armer, it drew Rahul forward and moved away to clip the top of off stump. That was the start of a cluster of wickets falling. Pujara and Virat Kohli brought the 100 up and in a space of 59 runs India lost four wickets. James Anderson found the edge of Pujaraís bat and in doing so took his tally of wickets against India to 106, the most by any bowler, beating 105 by Muthia Muralidharan.
Two runs later Ajinkya Rahane was caught in two minds and decided to play the ball only to edge to first slip without scoring. Hanuma Vihari, on his Test debut, joined his captain Virat Kohli who had been picking up the runs steadily taking the total to 154 when in a lapse in concentration he reached at a ball from Ben Stokes. which he should have left, and Joe Root at second slip snapped up the catch. He missed his half century by just one run but took his aggregate of runs for the series to 593. Stokes struck again in his following over removing Rishabh Pant and that was 160 for six.
Earlier, it had been an excellent first session of play for England with 106 runs coming for the loss of one wicket after they had resumed on the overnight score of 198 for seven. The first half hour saw 16 runs added before Adil Rashid was trapped lbw playing at a ball from Jasprit Bumrah in the eighth over of the day, without moving his feet and that was 214 for eight. Jos Buttler, who was on 15 from as many as 48 balls at the fall of Rashidís wicket, then raised the tempo of his game during an unbroken stand of 90 by lunch, with Stuart Broad, taking England to 304 for eight.
Buttler played aggressive shots during a 98-run stand with Broad. He got into the forties with a clipped four off his pads and then steered Mohammad Shami to third man boundary to get to 49 before running two to bring up his tenth Test half century from 89 balls. He had scored 36 at the rate of a run-a-ball between Rashidís dismissal and reaching his 50.
Once again Englandís ninth wicket stand had piled on the runs. In the fourth Test it had added 63 and 50 in the third Test. This time they fell just two short of what would have been a very valuable century stand considering the score was only 214 for eight when they came together. The stand was broken when Broad lifted Ravi Jadeja for KL Rahul to run back at long-on and take a superb catch, diving forward. It was Rahulís 13th catch of the series equalling Rahul Dravid for the highest number of catches in a series by an Indian fielder. Eknath Solkar is second with 12.
Buttler added 21 quick runs in the last wicket stand taking his score to 89 from 133 balls and in addition to his six fours he hit two sixes in three balls off Bumrah. The first went high into the stand at long-on and the next was hooked at backward square leg. His excellent innings finally ended half-an-hour into the second session when he edged his drive, off Jadeja, for Rahane to take a sharp catch at slip in front of his face. Englandís last two wickets had added 118. The wicket gave Jadeja figures of four for 79 while Bumrah and Sharma finished with three each.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2004-2017 Micro Electronics Technology Inc., and CricketArchive