India vs England 5th Test Day 4: Cook bows out with a ton, India suffer early collapse

India vs England 5th Test Day 4: Cook bows out with a ton, India suffer early collapse

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.

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.

Alastair Cook weaved his swansong in the form of a fairytale: England Vs India Day 4 of 5th Test

Legendary English batsman and former captain, Alastair Cook will never march out to bat in international Cricket again. His fairytale of a 33rd Test hundred will be remembered as his last. A reality, we the fans have been trying to digest, accept and move on. These twelve years were not just about his much-celebrated career or his distinguished retirement. Perhaps, there’s more to it. 

“I have given everything and there is nothing left in the tank”, admitted Cook in his retirement note last week. True, his form wasn’t as great at it used to be around three-four years back. Alastair Cook was looked up to as someone who’d go past Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most Test runs. He quite evidently didn’t. Not even close. The form went down, the runs dried up. The day he announced his decision to retire, many gave acclamation to it being the correct decision. As it was high time and there wasn’t any match winning performances.

Maybe his tank has nothing left for the long run but for all he had left he made sure it was delivered in his Final inning. By the end of Day 3, he was not out on 46. He had already scored 71 in the first innings of the match which was his penultimate. He was 75 runs away from going past Kumar Sangakkara’s record of 12400 runs. His first 46 runs that came off the last session of Day 3 had seemed to be a bit shaky.

The turn of events on the following day was rather spectacular. Day 4 at The Oval was witness to Alastair Cook weaving a fairy tale out of his final stride in the England jersey. Every delivery that he faced was acknowledged with standing ovations from the crowd. His maneuver was celebrated with cheers and applause, all throughout his innings.

Nervousness, anticipation, and excitement spread like an epidemic when Cook was batting in his nineties. Records that were already established by him by the time he reached the score of 90: A batting average over 45, Fifth highest run-getter in Tests, Highest run getter amongst left-handed batsmen.

At 96, he took a single off Ravindra Jadeja’s delivery in the 70th over of England’s innings. An overthrow from Bumrah made sure Cook reached his thirty-third ton in a unique way. The overthrow fetched him four extra runs, a total of five. Before anyone could realize the legend had reached his hundred, Cook fashioned his way into a distinctive club. Only four players before him have scored a Test century on both – debut and final matches. 

“Ever since my retirement has been announced, I suppose you hope you have a good week. To top it off with a score here is just incredible. Sometimes dreams come true,” said an emotional Cook. His final innings came to end with him scoring 147 from 286 balls for the last time in England whites. It couldn’t have been scripted better, a tale that will remain etched in our hearts forever. 

England captain Joe Root joined as the second centurion of the enormous innings. He declared the innings when England were on 423 for 8, setting a target of 464 for India. By the end of Day 4, India were struggling on 58 for 3 in 18 overs. 

England’s greatest in the modern era say the numbers

Twelve years ago, a 21-year-old Alastair Cook stepped out to bat at Nagpur in November 2006 against India on his debut Test. Little did the cricketing world know that in the coming years, many of the Test batting records will be prejudiced. And it didn’t take long as, by the end of that Test Cook’s finesse was all evident as he registered a hundred in his second innings. He scored 60 and 104 in his first Test match.

Since his debut, he has been breaking and owning most of the English Test cricket records. He has been at the top of all batting record charts for English batsmen for a while now. After achieving it all, Former English captain Alastair Cook will be finally calling it a day. 

Final Stats: 

Tenure Matches Innings Runs Scored  Highest innings score  No. of Hundreds
2006-2018 161 291 12472 294 33

England v India 5th Test: Highlights from Day 3

While debutant Hanuma Vihari’s well-calculated fifty on debut helped him enter a bijou list. Ravindra Jadeja’s unbeaten 86 helped India put up a total of 292 on board. Alastair Cook stayed on the crease and survived the last session of day 3.

 

India vs England: Twitter Lauds Ravindra Jadeja For Unbeaten Half-Century Against England
Ravindra Jadeja’s batting par excellence in testing conditions helped India put up a total of 292 on Day 3.

It was England’s game at end of Day 2 with India not quite struggling but on 174/6 in 51.0 overs. Debutant Vihari was on 25* and  Ravindra Jadeja on 8*. But going by the record of the last-four positions’ batting performances in the tour it was not so certain that India could manage what they actually went on to do. India was 40 runs behind England at the end of their innings.

Debutant shines

Hanuma Vihari has 15 centuries to his name in the 5,142 first-class runs that he has scored. His selection over Karun Nair was highly criticised. Although nothing was directed towards him, it was Vihari’s chance to justify his position in the team. With his 104-ball 50, Vihari became the 26th Indian player to record a fifty-plus score on debut. Furthermore, he became only the 4th Indian to record a fifty-plus score on Test debut in England.

The bijou list:

Rusi Modi (57* in 1946)

Sourav Ganguly (131 in 1996)

Rahul Dravid (95 in 1996)

Hanuma Vihari(56 in 2018)

Hanuma Vihari scored his fifty off 104 balls
Hanuma Vihari scores a fifty on Test Debut. (AP Photo)

It took a tossed up delivery from the bowler that spun back into Vihari and made him tread forward in defense. The ball took a muffled edge as Jonny Bairstow took a good catch behind the stumps. That’s how Moeen Ali got his breakthrough for England. He produced a partnership of 77 runs with Ravindra Jadeja and India was on 240 for 7 at Lunch.

Man of the hour Ravindra Jadeja

When Ravindra Jadeja reached his half-century, he dusted off his bat – a celebration England was aware of. After all, the England team got a show of it at The Oval, way back in 2014. India’s penultimate wicket fell with Shami’s dismissal and the Scorecard displayed- 260/9 in 85.5 overs. Jadeja fought on with Jasprit Bumrah the last man in for the next 8 overs. Bumrah’s defense against James Anderson was well applauded by the crowd. But the Indian innings came to an end when Broad/Bairstow ran Bumrah out and Jadeja remained stranded at an unbeaten 86.

Alastair Cook attracted all the tension and excitement on coming down to bat in his 291st and final Test innings. England were 20 for no loss at Tea. Every fan of Cook out there breathed out a sigh of relief when the man managed to survive the last session. At Stumps Day 3, England stood 114/2 in 43.0 overs (AN Cook 46, JE Root 29). England now have a lead of 154 runs over India.

Jos Buttler makes his birthday count: England v India 5th Test Day 2

England skipper Joe Root won his fifth toss in a row and elected to bat. Day 1 wasn’t so much in favor of the hosts as they were reduced to 198 for the loss of 7 wickets. But Day 2 had England dominance in store with Jos Buttler at it again. 

 

Birthday boy, Jos Buttler made his inclusion in the squad count again. His 133-ball 89 put England on top and the bowlers took over next. England had 198/7 on the board in 90.0 overs (JC Buttler 11, AU Rashid 4) at Stumps Day 1. After Alastair Cook’s 71, which counts as his penultimate innings, only Moeen Ali managed to score a fifty while others fell cheaply. India had their chance at the beginning of the 2nd day but the same story was rewritten from India’s side.

This wasn’t a digression but the lack of tactical planning from Virat Kohli which let off England. The next thing we know Buttler had added another 114 runs with Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad. The latter scored 38 runs off 59 deliveries and his partnership with Jos Buttler reduced the dot balls and doubled the run rate.

Image result for ravindra jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja, who went on to bag four, celebrating a wicket.

With Broad’s dismissal, England were 9 down but was on top with 312 on board. Buttler went on to bat for another 5 overs adding 20 runs and his partner James Anderson adding zero runs off five balls. A length delivery from Jadeja tricked Buttler into edging the ball to the first slip- Ajinkya Rahane. Jadeja ended up with bowling figures of 30-0-79-4. 

By the end of the 4th Test, it was apparent where England weighed India out. The difference in performance of the last four(Nos 8-11) of both teams- not with the ball, but with the bat.

 

Aggregate batting averages of both teams according to batting positions in the first four Tests:

Openers and middle order 1-7 England     27.58 India     28.00 
Lower order and Tail-enders 8-11 England     21.63 India     9.13

The End of Day 2 saw India at 174/6 in 51.0 overs with debutant Hanuma Vihari at 25* and Ravindra Jadeja at 8*. Virat Kohli was the top scorer for India with 49 while Pujara and Rahul scoring 37 each.

 

Image result for hanuma vihari
Hanuma Vihari made his Test Debut vs England, at The Oval.

The real test for India lies right where they’re standing- the lower order needs to take charge to save face at the Oval. Day 3 will entirely depend on how India’s tail tackles England seam challenge. India would want to put a total of 300, if not a lead, to be in the game. If England could climb right up from being seven down, India could use their reputation of ‘batting deep’ to practicality. 

Moeen Ali spins victory for England

Moeen Ali spins victory for England

Ageas Bowl, Southampton: England won the fourth test against India by 60 runs at Southampton on Sunday. England took an unassailable lead of 3-1 to win the Pataudi Trophy in their backyard.

England’s bowling pair Anderson and Broad were in sublime form right at the start of the Indian chase. Broad bowled over opener KL Rahul with a low-lying delivery that baffled the Indian. Anderson got Pujara lbw and Shikhar Dhawan was caught at gully by Stokes. Three Indian wickets fell within 10 overs of play. Moeen Ali took charge from the 13th over and used the loose patch outside the off-stump of the right-handers that he consistently kept hitting. The off-spinner troubled the Indian captain early on in his innings of 58. On 9 runs, an England review for lbw was unsuccessful after third umpire Joel Wilson decided that the ball feathered Kohli’s bat. The review was fairly debated considered the umpire did not check for whether the noise was off the bat flicking the pad.

Both the captain and the vice-captain played mature cricket, playing skillful defense against Moeen and accumulating runs in singles and twos. Just before tea, Kohli was caught at short-leg by Alastair Cook. The ball hit his gloves and ballooned in the air to Cook. India steadily piled runs in the afternoon session with Kohli’s lone wicket for England. England dominated the session after tea quickly reducing the Indian side from 123 for 4 to 184 all out.

When Kohli was dismissed, India needed 121 runs with six wickets in hand to level the series. What followed was another dismissal batting collapse that had become habitual practice since the South Africa series at the start of the year. The middle and lower orders have to perform in high-pressure situations. The dependency on the top order to fulfill the batting needs has hurt India in the ongoing series. Especially in closely fought matches, like this test and the first test at Lords, India narrowly missed out on chasing down the target.

Kohli expressed during the post-match that the team needs to do more than reach close to the target. “When you come so close, there is an art of crossing the line as well, which we will have to learn. We have the ability, which is why we are getting close to a result, and we have belief in that ability. But when a pressure situation comes, how we react to it… is something we have to work on a bit, and everyone is ready to work on that,” he insisted.

Moeen Ali was adjudged the man of the match for his nine wickets – four in the second innings to add to his five-wicket haul in the first innings. Root heaped praise on the finger spinner declaring that this was “the best I’ve seen him bowl in an England shirt”. In the series, England has had standout bowlers in each of the matches who have won them the game. Though England will still question their top orders failure, they will be content with the series win for now.

In the post-match presentation, England captain called this win one of his best as captain. “I think it probably has been [my best as captain]. I feel like I’ve had quite a big input, felt very much in control of things – and I’ve got a real clear vision of how I see us improving long-term as a group. It’s a really exciting time for me and for this team,” he said.

Scorecard: England 246 (S Curran 78, M Ali 40; Bumrah 3-46, I Sharma 2-26) & 271 (J Buttler 69, J Root 48, S Curran 46; M Shami 4-57); India 273 (C Pujara 132*, V Kohli 46; M Ali 5-63, S Broad 3-63) & 184 (V Kohli 58, A Rahane 51; M Ali 4-71)