India’s weakness against quality seam bowling was once against exploited as England’s pace battery limited India for 174 for 6 following heroic efforts by Jos Buttler and English tail-enders to give the hosts the upper hand at the end of day 2 of the fifth and final Test at the Oval in London on Saturday.
Birthday boy Jos Buttler played a magnificent knock of 89 runs and his partnership of 98 runs with Stuart Broad took England’s scoreboard to 332 runs after struggling at 198 for 7 at the end of the first day.
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In reply to the hosts’ 332, Indian top order once again failed to hand the visitors a solid start as opener Shikhar Dhawan (3) departed after a sharp swinging delivery by Broad struck his pads, continuing his poor run of form.
KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara made a handy 37 runs each but a certain Sam Curran sent Rahul packing. Skipper Virat Kohli (49) looked in the groove but was sent back by Stokes.
Rahane played a poor shot to depart for a duck, while Rishabh Pant followed him back quickly.
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Debutant Hanuma Vihari (25*) looked comfortable in the middle while Ravindra Jadeja (8*) played two beautiful shots to settle in quickly.
India still trail England by 158 more runs with four wickets in hand and the day three could be a long one for India if the conditions favour the hosts as it did during day 2.
England 1st Innings Scorecard:
Alastair Cook b Bumrah 71
Keaton Jennings c Rahul b Ravindra Jadeja 23
Moeen Ali c Pant b Ishant 50
Joe Root lbw b Bumrah 0
Jonny Bairstow c Pant b Ishant 0
Ben Stokes lbw b Ravindra Jadeja 11
Jos Buttler c Rahane b Jadeja 89
Sam Curran c Pant b Ishant 0
Adil Rashid lbw b Bumrah 15
Stuart Broad c Rahul b Jadeja 38
Extras: (B-26, LB-9) 35
Total: 332 all out in 122 overs
Fall of wickets: 60-1, 133-2, 133-3, 134-4, 171-5, 177-6, 181-7, 214-8, 312-9, 332-10
Bowling: Jasprit Bumrah 30-9-83-3, Ishant Sharma 31-12-62-3, Hanuma Vihari 1-0-1-0, Mohammed Shami 30-7-72-0, Ravindra Jadeja 30-0-79-4.
India 1st innings Scorecard:
KL Rahul b Curran 37
Shikhar Dhawan lbw b Broad 3
Cheteshwar Pujara c Bairstow b Anderson 37
Virat Kohli c Root b Stokes 49
Ajinkya Rahane c Cook b Anderson 0
Hanuma Vihari not out 25
Rishabh Pant c Cook b Stokes 5
Ravindra Jadeja not out 8
Total: (for 6 wickets in 51 overs) 174
Fall of wicket: 6-1, 2-70, 3-101, 4-103, 5-154, 6-160
Bowling: James Anderson: 11-3-20-2, Stuart Broad 11-3-25-1, Ben Stokes 11-1-44-2, Sam Curran 10-1-46-1, Moeen Ali 8-0-29-0.
England have already won the five-match Test series by an unassailable lead of 3-1.