Bumrah, Shardul & Rohit Take Charge as India Outclass England at The Oval
India lead the five-match series 2-1 with the final Test to be played in Manchester.
The Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team roared back from defeat at Leeds to hand England a comprehensive defeat at The Oval, taking an unassailable 2-1 lead in the five-match series. India clearly loves London, but will move back up north to Old Trafford for the final Test.
It wasn’t easy though, as India had left themselves with quite the task on hand as England amassed a 99-run lead. On the back of three unimpressive batting performances, against an attack spearheaded by one of the most skillful bowlers in Test cricket, James Anderson, India needed to dig deep.
And they did. India’s top order came good as Rohit Sharma put on a show for the Indian fans before Shardul Thakur produced yet another extremely important cameo with the bat. None of this would, however, match up to what was to come.
It was a like a switch had suddenly flicked on as Jasprit Bumrah decided he had had enough of England’s batters thwarting him and his mates. A magnificent spell post Lunch, with a little help from Shardul, broke England’s back and opened the floodgates.
Mind you, the Indian contingent also had quite a few nervy moments with COVID-19 tests. While the players tested negative, coaches Ravi Shastri, R Sridhar and Bharat Arun unfortunately were confirmed to have contracted the virus.
The win at The Oval was iconic for India as it was their second at the venue, the first being in 1971, and the first time since 1986 that the team had won more than one Test in a series on English soil.
Here’s a look back at the top performers for India from the iconic win at The Oval:
Rohit Sharma, the opener, has been one of the brightest aspects of this Test series for India. He’s always look assured and a big knock seemed round the corner for a while.
With India’s back to the wall in the second innings, Rohit stepped up and first curbed his normal attacking instincts before mixing it up with fluent strokeplay, finally topping it off with a stylish six to get to his first overseas Test hundred.
Rohit played 256 deliveries for his 127, which is a strike rate that he is very unused to, and gave India the platform to attack later with Shardul Thakur and co. If not for Rohit’s century, the contest could have ended in a very different way. Rohit eventually picked up the player of the match award.
Back in the side after injury after an injury, Shardul proved to be decisive for India in all the four innings, causing England a fair bit of trouble throughout the Test. The Mumbaikar, who also played an important role in the win at the Gabba earlier this year, scored two half centuries and picked three wickets in the game.
India were down and out at 127/7 in the first innings before Shardul took charge and dragged the total to 191 with 57 off 36 deliveries. He top scored in the innings before dislodging England’s top scorer in the first innings, Ollie Pope, for 81.
At the back end of the second innings, Shardul put on a fantastic partnership century stand with Rishabh Pant, with both scoring half centuries at a crucial time in the innings.
Shardul, of course, wasn’t done and struck two telling blows in the second innings with the ball, as he removed Rory Burns first to give India their first breakthrough before getting the big one of Joe Root in the afternoon session.
The leader of the fearsome pace attack, Jasprit Bumrah, was cause for one of the most dramatic and exciting sessions in the game. On Day 5, Bumrah demanded the ball from Kohli in the afternoon session and quite literally won the game for India with a ferocious six over spell.
Bumrah began his Oval Test by knocking over the English openers quickly on Day 1 itself. However, it was in the second innings that pacer really took the game by the scruff of the neck. He first added 24 crucial runs to the Indian total, putting a price on his wicket on Day 4.
On the final day, after a not so successful opening session, a charged up Bumrah dismissed Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow with a couple of immaculate yorkers – in the process also becoming the fastest Indian pacer to 100 Test wickets.
Bumrah’s spell opened the floodgates for India, as England fell apart very quickly after that.
Brought in for the experienced Ishant Sharma, fast bowler Umesh Yadav had a major impact in the win at The Oval. Having hung around with Shardul in the first innings to help bolster India’s total as much as possible, Umesh backed that up with another cameo in the second innings and was part of a 36-run stand with Bumrah and then another 16-run stand with Mohammed Siraj.
In between putting a price on his wicket, Umesh picked three wickets in both innings. Dawid Malan, Joe Root and Craig Overton were rolled over in a hurry in the first innings. Both Malan and Root were looking good and were big wickets.
In the second innings, Umesh wrapped up the lower order before they could resist for too long, dismissing Chris Woakes, Overton again and James Anderson to put the seal on the win.
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