Cook holds firm with a goodbye innings to strengthen England’s grip on fifth Test

Cricket - England v India - Fifth Test - Kia Oval, London, Britain - September 9, 2018 England's Alastair Cook in action Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Updated 09 September 2018
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Cook holds firm with a goodbye innings to strengthen England’s grip on fifth Test

  • Alastair Cook, England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer, reaches 46 not out on his final innings
  • India’s Ravindra Jadeja continued an excellent return to Test cricket

LONDON: Alastair Cook’s typically grinding effort of 46 not out in his final Test innings before international retirement left England in a strong position in the fifth Test against India at the Oval on Sunday.
England were 114 for two in their second innings at stumps on the third day, a lead of 154 runs, having already won this five-match series at 3-1 up.
Now Cook, England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer and captain Joe Root (29 not out), his successor as skipper, will look to pile on the agony for India when they resume their unbroken third-wicket partnership of 52 on Monday.
India’s Ravindra Jadeja continued an excellent return to Test cricket by starring with both bat and ball.
Jadeja, playing his first Test of the series after being recalled in place of the injured Ravichandran Ashwin, added to his haul of four first-innings wickets by top-scoring with 86 not out in an India first-innings total of 292.
England, who led by 40 runs on first innings, have long struggled to find an opening partner for Cook, with 12 batsmen given a shot at the job since Andrew Strauss retired six years ago.
And ahead of their upcoming our of Sri Lanka, England may now be looking for two openers rather than one after Keaton Jennings completed a miserable series by being bowled for 10 playing no shot to Mohammed Shami on Sunday.
It was the second time in as many Test that Jennings had been dismissed leaving the ball and meant he ended the series with just 163 runs at a meagre average of 18.
An unconcerned Cook, who has already batted for more than three hours this innings, went 26 balls without scoring but seized on an over-pitched ball to drive Shami down the ground for four.
Moeen Ali, batting at number three — another of England’s problem positions — failed to demonstrate similar patience.
The third member of England’s all left-handed top three, Moeen drove loosely at Ishant Sharma on 14 only for normally reliable second slip KL Rahul to drop the head-high chance.
Fortunately for India, Moeen was bowled by Jadeja for 20 trying to drive the left-arm spinner out of the rough.
But Root, batting in his favored position of number four, showed his class with a straight-driven four off Shami to take the score to 100 for two.
A frustrating day for England spearhead James Anderson saw him continue to remain two shy of Australia great Glenn McGrath’s record of 563 Test wickets — the most taken by a fast bowler.
Before play started, the International Cricket Council announced Anderson had been fined 15 percent of his match fee for “speaking in an aggressive manner” to umpire Kumar Dharmasena on Saturday after an lbw review against India captain Virat Kohli went the way of the star batsman.
Kohli eventually fell to Ben Stokes for 49, strengthening an England grip on the game established earlier Saturday by Jos Buttler making 89 on his 28th birthday.
India resumed in trouble at 174 for six, with Vihari 25 not out and Jadeja unbeaten on eight.
Vihari, who came through a couple of close lbw incidents involving Broad when on nought, was increasingly assured as he completed a fifty in 104 balls, including six fours and a six.
But a seventh-wicket partnership of 77 finished when off-spinner Moeen, whose hat-trick ended last year’s Oval Test against South Africa, had Vihari caught off a thin edge by wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow for 56.
Jadeja completed a 113-ball fifty, including seven fours and celebrated the landmark with a trademark twirl of the bat.
Silly-point Jennings then snatched at a bat/pad chance when last man Jasprit Bumrah went forward first ball to leg-spinner Adil Rashid.
Jadeja, on 56 at the time, cashed in on Bumrah’s reprieve.
England took the new ball only for Jadeja to drive Anderson straight back over his head for six and hook Broad for four down to long leg.
But Jadeja, who made his highest Test score of 90 against England at Mohali two years ago, was left short of a hundred when Bumrah was run out as he tried to keep the strike.


Joe Root ton puts England on top against Sri Lanka

Updated 17 November 2018
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Joe Root ton puts England on top against Sri Lanka

KANDY: Captain Joe Root smashed 124 and newcomer Ben Foakes again hit valuable tail end runs to put England in command of the second Test against Sri Lanka on Friday.
England reached 324 for nine — a second innings lead of 278 — when bad light stopped play for the day in Kandy.
Foakes was batting on 51 alongside James Anderson on four.
Spinner Akila Danajanya, whose action is under investigation by the International Cricket Council, claimed six wickets on the turning pitch.
He trapped Root lbw and then bowled Sam Curran for nought with his next ball. Adil Rashid thwarted the hat-trick but soon fell to Dananjaya’s guile for two.
It was his third five wicket haul in just his fifth Test for Dananjaya, who must rush off to Australia after the game for an ICC examination of his bowling.
He however could not stop Root and Foakes swinging the game.
Root reached his 15th Test ton soon after tea, making the sweep and reverse sweep valuable weapons, as he hit 10 fours and two sixes in his 146-ball knock.
Root said he enjoyed making the runs despite the pressure.
“That’s what it should be. You shouldn’t feel pressure like the pressure is too much for you, you should enjoy the occasion and make the most of the opportunity in front of you,” he said after the day’s play.
“The whole group managed to harness that today and make the most of it.”
Root raised his bat to a standing ovation from traveling English fans who also lauded Foakes.
Root made an 82-run seventh wicket stand with Foakes, who reached his fifty with a six off Dilruwan Perera. The hit turned out to be the last ball of the day with dark clouds gathering and thunder heard in the distance.
As he did in his sparkling century on Test debut in the opening game of the series, Foakes mixed caution and aggression to push up the England score.
Every one of England’s top seven batsmen were out attempting a sweep of some description.
Jos Buttler dragged one of Dananjaya’s deliveries onto his stumps while trying to reverse sweep on 34. Moeen Ali was trapped lbw for 10 after failing to connect with an attempted sweep.
“From my point of view, it was almost a safer shot than playing the forward defensive,” said Root.
“With the amount the ball was turning there’s a lot of risk involved in that. At times attack is the best form of defense on a wicket like that.”
Earlier, left-hander Rory Burns registered his maiden Test half-century in just his second match. He was trapped lbw off Malinda Pushpakumara for 59.
Burns then put together 73 runs for the second wicket with Keaton Jennings, who made 26, to steady the innings and help England overcome their 46-run deficit.
“I think the temptation with a deficit like that going into the second innings is to play within your shell and be a bit insular but the guys went out and set the tone at top of the order,” said Root.
“It was really pleasing to see inexperienced guys as Test cricketers really set the benchmark for the rest of the group, a really good platform for us.
“Hopefully we still stretch the lead further and that should be a good chase on this surface.”