Day four of the final Test at the Oval belonged truly to the departing Alastair Cook. He brought the curtains down on an illustrious career with a fairytale hundred. The penultimate day turned out to be a great day not just for Cook, but the English team as a whole as they set a target of 464 runs for India to chase down.
Thrilled for Alastair Cook to end on such a high… I was there for his first Test Century in Napur and there today for his last. Great cricketer, he will be missed. https://t.co/yCfviGxh9F
— Geoffrey Boycott (@GeoffreyBoycott) September 10, 2018
Cook’s 147 and Joe Root’s 125 ensured that England took command of the final test of the tour that has lasted for over two months. But for the first time in the series, India looked out off the fight. Unable to get any breakthroughs in terms of wickets, the Indian side also lost Ishant Sharma to an ankle injury after having bowled just 8 overs.
India also missed couple chances when Rahane dropped Root on 46 and then Pujara missing the catch at slips when the England captain was on 94. Cook and Root shared amassed 259 runs for the third-wicket partnership. But, India were relieved in quick succession as Hanuma Vihari dismissed the pair in consecutive deliveries. Root was caught in the deep trying to the slog sweep the off-spinner. Cook faced the next delivery with the batsman having crossed the previous delivery. Trying to cut the ball, he edged it to wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant.
That brought an end to six-and-a-half-hour inning and a twelve-year career. Once again, the crowd was on their feet, applauding the legendary man, his inning, and career. With both set batsmen gone, England middle and lower order still managed to add 102 runs, before Root declared the innings at 423/8.
With the lights on and the sunlight fading, India were sent in to bat and suffered a dismal collapse in four overs. James Anderson and Stuart Broad reduced India to 2 for 3 wickets. Anderson claimed Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara LBW in the third over. Both the batsmen had no answers for the late inswing that is often accompanied with the lights in the last session of the day in England. With the two scalps, Anderson equaled Glenn McGraths’s tally for the most number of Test wickets by a fast bowler (563). Stuart Broad joined the party in the fourth over when he got the Indian captain out for a rare golden duck.
With Kohli also gone, K L Rahul started to play on the back foot taking the onus of scoring the runs. At stumps, India finished with 58/3 in 18 overs with Rahul scoring 46*. India have a monumental chase ahead of them as they go into the final day of their tour. Even though a win seems like a far-stretch, the Indian team would look to finish the tour with a decent chase. Whereas England would look to bundle out the Indian side quickly, bag the trophy and give the ‘Chef’ a proper send-off.
— ICC (@ICC) September 10, 2018