English Pacers on Target as Indian Top-Order Crumble Yet Again

India still trail England by another 158 runs with four wickets in hand and three day’s play remaining in the match.

Updated
Cricket
4 min read
James Anderson celebrates after dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara on Day 2 of the fifth Test match at the Oval in London on Saturday. 
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Snapshot
  • India were 174/6, trailing England by 158 runs at the end of Day 2 of the fifth Test at the Oval in London.
  • Earlier, England were bowled out for 332 in their first innings.
  • Jos Buttler was the top scorer for England with 89 runs.
  • England lead this five-match contest 3-1.

India lost five wickets in the final session, which also included the prized wicket of Virat Kohli, on Day 2 of the final Test of the five-match series against England at the Oval on Saturday.

Once again India’s top order faltered as they fell prey to some quality bowling from the English seamers to finish with 174/6 at the close of play. Anderson was the wrecker-in-chief who picked up the two important wickets of Pujara and Rahane.

India still trail England by another 158 runs with four wickets in hand and three full day’s play remaining in the match.

Courtesy birthday boy Jos Buttler’s 89 and his 98-run ninth-wicket stand with Stuart Broad (38), England managed a decent first innings score of 332 after they were struggling at 198 for seven at the end of first day’s play.

At stumps, debutant Hanuma Vihari was unbeaten on 25 with Ravindra Jadeja (8 not out) for company as India lost their way after tea.

After the final break of the day, conditions favoured bowlers a lot more under heavy cloudy conditions and floodlights as the ball darted around with James Anderson (2/20) and Sam Curran (1/46) troubling the Indian batsmen most.

England’s Stuart Broad celebrates after taking the wicket of India’s Shikhar Dhawan at the Oval  in London on Saturday.
England’s Stuart Broad celebrates after taking the wicket of India’s Shikhar Dhawan at the Oval in London on Saturday.
(Photo: AP)

The visitors made a poor start and lost opener Dhawan early, out trapped LBW by Broad in the second over.

Rahul looked set for a big score before Curran went through his defense with a nearly unplayable delivery in the 23rd over.

Thereafter, India lost three wickets for 33 runs as Anderson wreaked havoc with the moving ball, dismissing both Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in quick succession.

Pujara was caught behind, while Rahane (0) was caught at slip in the space of 13 balls.

Just like previous matches, India skipper Virat Kohli (49) looked in great nick and seemed determined to take his side out of troubled waters with positive intent. He hit six boundaries during his 70-ball knock and looked batting easy even as his colleagues struggled.

India captain Virat Kohli walks off after getting caught in slip of Ben Stokes’ bowling at the Oval in London on Saturday.
India captain Virat Kohli walks off after getting caught in slip of Ben Stokes’ bowling at the Oval in London on Saturday.
(Photo: AP)

But Kohli perished while trying to be too positive, edging a Ben Stokes (2/44) delivery to his counterpart Joe Root at the slip cordon.

Vihari looked out of sorts against Stuart Broad's (1/25) inswingers initially. The bowler had two LBW shouts against the debutants -- the first of which looked out on replays but England didn't opt for DRS.

Vihari then regained his composure and batted till the end of day in company of Ravindra Jadeja (8 not out)

In between, young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant (5) again failed to cash in on the opportunity edging a Stokes delivery to Alastair Cook on the slip cordon.

England’s Jos Buttler (right) is congratulated by England’s Stuart Broad after he reached his fifty at the Oval  in London on Saturday. 
England’s Jos Buttler (right) is congratulated by England’s Stuart Broad after he reached his fifty at the Oval in London on Saturday. 
(Photo: AP)

In the morning session, Buttler scored his tenth half-century to rescue England to 304 for eight as Indian bowlers struggled to wrap up the home team's tail.

Starting at overnight score of 198 for seven, the Indian pacers found some lateral movement in the morning but were unable to get the English tail-enders' out.

The Indian bowlers again had tough time getting the English tailenders out on Saturday morning.  
The Indian bowlers again had tough time getting the English tailenders out on Saturday morning.  
(Photo: AP)

The English tail-enders' performance has been the main reason why India are 1-3 down in the series, and it was a near-repeat effort from the home team's lower-order on Saturday morning as Indian bowlers failed to get wickets despite getting assistance from the pitch.

Adil Rashid (15) and Buttler pushed the score past 200 quickly as 45 runs came in the first hour of play.

Jasprit Bumrah (3/64) did account for the wicket of Rashid, out lbw in the seventh over of the morning despite a DRS referral from the batsman.

But Buttler and Broad denied the Indian bowlers any further breakthroughs in the remainder of session, much to the frustration of the Indians.

(With inputs from PTI)

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