Rahul and Pant of­fer re­sis­tance with hun­dreds but fail to pre­vent In­dia’s de­feat at the Oval

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -


London, UK - James An­der­son be­came the most suc­cess­ful fast bowler in Test his­tory when he sealed Eng­land's 118-run win over In­dia at the Oval on Tues­day.

With just one wicket to fall, and An­der­son need­ing one more to break the record of 563 he had shared with re­tired Aus­tralia great Glenn McGrath, the 36 year old Lan­cashire pace­man bowled Mo­hammed Shami to give Eng­land vic­tory in the fifth Test and a 4-1 se­ries win.

In­dia, set a mam­moth 464 to win, col­lapsed to two for three on Mon­day, with An­der­son strik­ing twice. But a sixth-wicket part­ner­ship of 204 be­tween Lokesh Rahul (149) and Rishabh Pant (114) on Tues­day gave it hope of an un­likely vic­tory.

Leg-spin­ner Adil Rashid, how­ever, re­moved both cen­tury-mak­ers in a burst of two wick­ets for three runs in two overs af­ter tea to leave In­dia strug­gling at 328 for seven.

The scale of In­dia's task could be seen from the fact that no side has made more in the fourth innings to win a Test than the West Indies' 418 for seven against Aus­tralia at St John's, An­tigua in 2002-03.

In­dia re­sumed on Tues­day on 58 for three. Rahul was 46 not out and Ajinkya Ra­hane un­beaten on ten. All eyes were on

An­der­son as he bowled on Tues­day's first over, with the over­cast con­di­tions seem­ingly in his favour.

Rahul, Pant turn on the style

Rahul though clipped his sixth de­liv­ery of the day leg­side for four to com­plete a fifty - the first by an In­dia open­ing bats­man this se­ries.

But a stand of 118 ended when Ra­hane (37) mis­cued a sweep off Moeen Ali to Keaton Jen­nings at mid­wicket.

In­dia's 120 for four was soon trans­formed into 121 for five when Ben Stokes had Test debu­tant Hanuma Vi­hari, who made 56 in In­dia's first innings, caught be­hind for a duck.

But Rahul slapped Stokes over ex­tra-cover for six to go into the 90s in ex­tra­or­di­nary fash­ion be­fore his top-edged pull for four off the all-rounder took him to 97. The 26 year old Rahul then pulled the pace­man through mid-off, an­other re­mark­able bound­ary, to com­plete his fifth hun­dred in 29 Tests off 118 balls in­clud­ing 16 fours and a six.

At lunch he was 108 not out in a to­tal of 167 for five.

Left-han­der Pant, who had hit off-spin­ner Moeen for a one-handed six be­fore lunch, gave Rahul su­perb support on an in­creas­ingly flat pitch as runs flowed freely.

An­der­son came back on for a sec­ond spell but could not break through, with Eng­land cap­tain Joe Root's oc­ca­sional off-spin also fail­ing to yield a wicket.

Wicket-keeper Pant, who hoisted Rashid for six to go into the 90s, went to his maiden Test hun­dred in just his third match at this level when he re­peated the shot off the York­shire­man, the ball soar­ing high over long-on.

The 20 year old had then faced a mere 117 balls, in­clud­ing 14 fours and three sixes.

At tea, In­dia were 298 for five, need­ing 166 more runs to win.

But Rashid, a peripheral fig­ure for much of the se­ries, then took cen­tre stage. He turned one sharply out of the rough out­side Rahul's leg-stump to clip the top of the right-han­der's off-stump.

And his next over saw Pant, go­ing for an­other big hit, hole out to Moeen at long-off.

An­der­son was de­nied the wicket he craved when div­ing wick­et­keeper Jonny Bairstow dropped a low left-handed chance to re­prieve Ravin­dra Jadeja. But Sam Cur­ran struck twice with the new ball when the left-arm pace­man had both Ishant Sharma and Jadeja caught be­hind to leave In­dia on the brink of de­feat at 345 for nine.

An­der­son then gave Eng­land the fin­ish they wanted, bowl­ing Shami mid­dle stump.

AN­DER­SON JAMES 3wkts 45 runs

LOKESH RAHUL 149runs 224 balls

RISHABH PANT 114runs 146 balls

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