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India vs England: Ravindra Jadeja, Hanuma Vihari fight back; hosts in control

England were 114 for two in their second innings, a lead of 154 runs, at stumps on the third day of the fifth Test against India at the Oval on Sunday.

cricket Updated: Sep 09, 2018 23:24 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, London
India vs England,Ravindra Jadeja,Hanuma Vihari
India's Ravindra Jadeja celebrates after reaching his fifty against England at Oval.(AFP)

There was a grand revival, a solid beginning and farewell for a home favourite as the final Test between India and England sprang to life on the third day at The Oval on Sunday. Ravindra Jadeja was surprisingly kept out of the fourth Test at Southampton when off-spinner R Ashwin, not fully fit, was picked and flopped. He showed what India had missed in that game, which was decided on a turning track and sealed the series in England’s favour.

Jadeja took four wickets in the England first innings, and then lived up to his keenness to be counted again as a Test all-rounder. Jadeja’s unbeaten 86, only behind his career-high 90 against England at home in 2016, pushed his case.

It was Jadeja’s 77-run seventh wicket partnership with Hanuma Vihari, who made an impressive 56 on debut, that revived India in the morning. They were 174/6 overnight and it looked the repair work would be beyond a newcomer and a player not trusted much playing away from home.

The bowlers worked hard after India’s innings ended 40 runs short of England’s first innings 332. And desperation showed as they lost both reviews early, including one to get Alastair Cook leg-before. At stumps, the retiring great was on 46, and skipper Joe Root on 28 as England’s had stretched the lead to 154 by reaching 114/2.

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The pitch was playing well and India’s bowlers, weary at the end of a long series, pitched on the leg-stump to give away some runs. Still, they hardly held the hope at the start of the day which they would nurse at the end of it.

Vihari, on 25 overnight, showed none of the early nerves as he was decisive with his footwork, played late and close to the body and stayed patient. He averages almost 60 in first-class cricket and has piled on the runs in Ranji Trophy, and for India A even in England. He passed the big international test as James Anderson and Stuart Broad initially and then Ben Stokes and Sam Curran tried hard.

It took a brilliant delivery from off-spinner Moeen Ali, who got one to drift in and straighten, to get the nick of Vihari’s bat (56 – 124 b, 7x4, 1x6) late in the morning and end an innings that promised much more. Jadeja, the quiet partner until then, took charge.

On 39 when Vihari fell, he attacked to get to his ninth Test fifty. Jadeja scored 47 of the 55 runs scored after Vihari’s dismissal. He added 32 runs with last man Jasprit Bumrah, and the sword routine, smile and a pat on the insignia on the jersey showed how much it meant to him.

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Bumrah’s run out left Jadeja short of a deserved maiden century. There was a brief spell of cramp before lunch, pointing to his workload. Jadeja also got Ali (20) to an inside-edge on to the stumps with a delivery that spun off the rough, after being dropped by KL Rahul at slips off Ishant Sharma on 14.

England built on the 40-run first innings lead. Cook, playing his final Test innings, overcame testing early spells by Bumrah, Shami and Ishant. Shami finally got a wicket in his 34th over of the game after repeatedly beating the bat, knocking back Keaton Jennings’ off-stump while shouldering arms. Unlike the first two days, wickets didn’t tumble in the final session, which means India will have to plot another revival on Day 4.

First Published: Sep 09, 2018 23:21 IST