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.


Pakistan beat Afghanistan in last over finish

Bangladesh's Mahmudullah, right, bats during the one day international cricket match of Asia Cup between Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. (AP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Pakistan beat Afghanistan in last over finish

  • Hashmatullah Shahidi missed out on a maiden hundred by a mere three runs but still steered Afghanistan to a challenging 257-6

DUBAI: Experienced batsman Shoaib Malik hit a six and a boundary to pull off a sensational last over three wicket win for Pakistan against a spirited Afghanistan in the Asia Cup in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Malik pulled the second ball of the final over by paceman Aftab Alam over the deep square leg boundary and then whacked the next to deep fine leg for a boundary as Pakistan pulled off a nerve-wracking win in 49.3 overs at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Pakistan, cashing a stiff 258-run target, were home and dry to start the Super Four Stage with a much needed win and now face arch rivals India in Dubai on Sunday.
Hashmatullah Shahidi missed out on a maiden hundred by a mere three runs but still steered Afghanistan to a challenging 257-6.
Pakistan were off to a disastrous start when opener Fakhar Zaman was trapped leg-before off the sixth ball of the innings by spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman for nought.
Imam-ul-Haq scored a 104-ball 80 with five boundaries and a six while Babar Azam knocked an attractive 94-ball 66 with four boundaries and a six during their innings repairing the 154-run stand for the second wicket.
But both fell within the space of four runs as spinner Rashid Khan (3-46) brought Afghanistan back in the game with the asking rate getting stiffer, as Pakistan needed 42 off the final five overs.
Despite losing skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (eight), Asif Ali (seven) and Mohammad Nawaz (ten), Malik kept his cool to sop Afghanistan from posting their third straight win after beating Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the first round.
Earlier, Shahidi hit three consecutive boundaries in the final over off Usman Shinwari, but failed to get to three figures off the last delivery after Afghanistan won the toss and batted.
Shahidi finished with a brilliantly-paced 118-ball 97 not out, and added 94 for the fourth wicket with his skipper Asghar Afghan, who smashed five sixes and two fours in his 56-ball 67.
But it was Shahidi who held one end against Pakistan’s bowling in an innings which featured seven boundaries after left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz (3-57) had put the brakes on Afghanistan’s early progress.
Shahidi had added 63 for the third wicket with Rahmat Shah who scored a measured 36.
The total is an improvement by Afghanistan after scoring 249 and 255 in their previous two wins against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Pakistani fielders dropped four catches — three off debutant paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi who finished with 2-38.
India beat Bangladesh by seven wickets in Dubai and now meet Pakistan on Sunday, also in Dubai. Afghanistan and Bangladesh meet in Abu Dhabi on the same day.
Top two teams from the Super Four Stages will play the final in Dubai on September 28.