The Bouncer

The Observer - Sport - - Cricket -

Man of the day

Jos But­tler gave him­self an ex­cel­lent 28th birthday present by mak­ing a su­perb 89, which in­cluded two spec­tac­u­lar sixes in three balls from Jasprit Bum­rah. It com­pleted a break­through sum­mer when But­tler learned to stop wor­ry­ing and to love red- ball cricket. It also put him one up on the re­tir­ing Alas­tair Cook, who has never scored a run on his birthday. Th ere’s a good rea­son for that: he was born on 25 December.

Vil­lain of the day

Boris John­son, who tried to es­cape his per­sonal and pro­fes­sional woes by hav­ing a day at the cricket. He ap­peared twice on the big screen at the Oval – and was booed each time. Th e Sky Sports com­men­ta­tor David Gower, not­ing an empty seat next to John­son, drily ob­served that: “He ap­pears to be on his own.” John­son even­tu­ally de­liv­ered the will of the people by leav­ing the ground.

Begin­ner’s luck

Hanuma Vi­hari had a lively start to his Test ca­reer and could twice have been out LBW to Stu­art Broad be­fore he had scored. Th e fi rst ap­peal, given not out, would have been over­turned had Eng­land re­viewed. Th e sec­ond, given out, was over­turned when Va­hari re­viewed. It was an ec­cen­tric de­but in­nings from Va­hari, whose fi rst bound­ary in Test cricket was a top- edged six over fi ne leg off Ben Stokes.

Stat of the day

Th e wicket of Chetesh­war Pu­jara was James An­der­son’s 106th in Tests against In­dia – a record. He moved past Sri Lanka’s rub­ber- wristed genius Mut­tiah Mu­ralitha­ran, who took 105 wick­ets against them. An­der­son picked up Ajinkya Ra­hane soon after, but the one wicket he re­ally wanted – Virat Kohli – proved elu­sive. Kohli sur­vived a des­per­ately close re­view for LBW from the third de­liv­ery An­der­son bowled to him. Rob Smyth

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