On Day 4, Indian bowlers will look to put a spirited performance one last time in the 5th and final match of Specsavers Test series at The Kia Oval in London. For his part, English opener Alastair Cook, playing the final innings of his international career, would look to make the game memorable by hitting his 33rd hundred. At Stumps on Day 3, the Oval did break into raptures as Cook walked back undefeated.
For the English fan, this match is special not only because it is the swansong international appearance for their hero, but also because their team is leading 3-1 in the test series and looking to close it handsomely with a 4-1 win. And, England seem right course, leading by 154 runs with 8 wickets in hand.
In the morning of the third day, England were pushed to the limits as Ravindra Jadeja and Hanuma Vihari batted out of their skins. But England still ended up with a lead of 40. And from there on, they have managed to battle India's pace trio to sneak well ahead in this game.
Ravindra Jadeja's 86 helped India emerge from the ruins
Ravindra Jadeja's unbeaten 86 helped India narrow the gap on the third day of the fifth Test as India finished their first innings at 292, conceding a 40-run lead. The left-hander faced 156 balls and hit 11 fours and a six. After lunch, India tried to extend their innings as long as possible. But Ishant Sharma (4) fell in the fourth over after the break, caught behind off Moeen Ali (2-50). At the other end, Adil Rashid (1-19) dismissed Mohammed Shami (1) who again tried to hit out instead of putting a price on his wicket.
The innings of Jasprit Bumrah (0) was hardly better. But he batted 14 deliveries, allowing Jadeja to smash the ball around. In doing so, he put on 32 runs for the tenth and final wicket. Jadeja reached his ninth Test half-century off 113 balls, after India crossed 250 in the 84th over. England were so flustered that they took the new ball in hope of dismissing the last wicket quickly.
But Jadeja had different plan, he abstained from taking singles of first 3 balls of an over and when boundary riders were brought in to save the singles, Jadeja used the long handle to get the most from an over. He did manage to to take singles off the last ball in 3 consecutive overs. The partnership, and India's innings, ended with a run-out in the 95th over, though Jadeja finished unbeaten. Check Oval Test Day 3 highlights here
Alastair Cook Farewell Test
The 33-year-old Cook, who will bat one last time today, has played 161 Tests (current test match is not included) and scored 12,254 runs at an average of 44.88 with 32 hundreds and 56 half centuries. His highest Test score of 294 came against India at Birmingham during the 2011 series. One of the high points of his captaincy will certainly be leading England to a 2-1 series win against India in India back in 2012. He successfully used spin duo of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar during that series. Not just captaincy, Cook also excelled with the bat during the 2012 series, scoring 176 at Motera, 122 at Mumbai and 190 at Kolkata. Cook scored 2,330 runs against India in 54 innings with an average of 46.60. He smashed 6 centuries and 9 half century against Indian cricket team.
Why India failed to win crucial moments in Specsavers test series, Gilchrist has the answer
India have quality batsmen and bowlers in the team but need to be mentally stronger to win a Test series abroad, Australian great Adam Gilchrist said. India have lost the ODI series and are battling to save the fifth match of the Test series, in which they have already conceded an unassailable lead. "It is challenging playing overseas. I do believe India have a strong bowling unit and some quality batsmen, including the best batsmen in the world, Virat Kohli. They have the potential to win overseas, perhaps it is just mind more than the body," Gilchrist told PTI
Statistics at the Kia Oval
- Average 1st innings score: 349
- Average 2nd innings score: 306
- Average 3rd innings score: 233
- Average 4th innings score: 151
- Highest Total: 903/7 (335.2 Overs) by England vs Australia
- Lowest Total: 44/10 (26 Overs) by Australia vs England
- Highest chased: 263/9 (66.5 Overs) by England vs Australia
- Lowest defended: 77/10 (55 Overs) England vs Australia