Day 2 of the Final Test saw me waking up in Leigh in Surrey, just outside of Reigate. My aborted Airbnb stay had at least given me an idea of where to drive to and park, before jumping on the Northern Line to Oval Station. It’s possible to park in the road close to Morden Station at the weekend and only a few stops onwards, it worked well.
England started the day on 198 for 7 with Jos Buttler and Adil Rashid at the crease, Rashid was battling well but wasn’t to be there for long, he’d made 15 when he was trapped LBW by Bumrah.
This had been a useful partnership, putting on 33 runs, England were 214 for 8. Stuart Broad was next up, after being hit in the face by one of the Indian bowlers 4 years ago he’s been a shadow of himself with bat in hand. On this day at The Oval he found himself, somewhat to the delight of most of those watching.
I wouldn’t say he looked incredibly at ease, but he did make 38 runs as part of a partnership of 98, I’m sure you can imagine there were cheers aplenty! Broad’s 38 included 3 Fours, this was a vital innings, 312 for 9 was a much better total. Buttler was again showing his class and was heading towards his second century of the series.
Extras, in particular Byes have been an issue for India in this series, this innings was no different, there were 35 in total, 26 Byes and 9 Leg Byes, some of those were caused by some wayward bowling but many by the failure of the young wicket keeper Pant to rake the ball. Keeping to a swinging Duke ball in English conditions has proved to be a challenge for him. At only 20 he has years to learn his trade.
With only Jimmy Anderson for company Buttler largely kept him away from the bowling, Anderson faced 5 balls of the 27 bowled before Buttler was caught by Rahul from the bowling of Jadeja. The man who had only featured as a fielder in the previous 2 tests had taken 4 wickets for 79 runs. Buttler had made 89 runs and England finished on 332.
Shikhar Dhawan who’d averaged 26.2 and KL Rahul who’d averaged 14.1 had been having a similar torrid summer to the England openers. England opened as they always do with James Anderson and Stuart Broad, that fact has frustrated me at times, especially considering Sam Curran opens the bowling for Surrey.
Shikhar had delighted those there on Day 1 with his dancing, he wasn’t to delight anyone with his bat. I’d had a moan at Broad being given the new ball again so inevitably he took the first wicket as he trapped Shikhar LBW for 3, India were 6 for 1.
Cheteshwar Pujara came in at 3, he’d scored a century at the Ageas Bowl after playing himself back into form at Trent Bridge, he played an incredibly patient innings there another would be needed at the Oval. He and Rahul put on 63 runs before Sam Curran made the breakthrough, bowling Rahul, he’d made 37, his highest score for the summer. India were 70 for 2 and the man many were watching for was next to the crease, Virat Kohli.
Going through my photos I can see that Boris Johnson was spotted by the TV cameras, it was funny to hear loud boo’s as they focused on him. It was funnier to see how long the photographers in front of me spent with their cameras on him, they must have taken loads of photos. Had a wicket fallen they’d all have missed it! I took 2 and I think this has turned out ok.
Virat Kohli started this test match with 544 runs in the series, he came to these shores with three scores of 600 in a test series, he needed one more to join Bradman as one of only 2 men to score 600 in a series, I really wanted him to get there. It has felt like something of a one man show with the bat for India at times. Pujara wasn’t in for a high score again, but he made 37 before Jimmy Anderson had him caught by Jonny Bairstow. This was to be a special test match for the England bowler as well as Alastair Cook.
5 balls into his next over Anderson had taken the wicket of Rahane, a catch for Cook and he was gone for a Duck! India were in some trouble on 103 for 4. I’d decided to take reaction photos during this series, it’s quite funny to see how far the bowler runs at times as others are trying to embrace him!
Hanuma Vihari was in next, at 24 he came into his first test with the highest average in First Class cricket of any active player with a highest score of 302, this was his chance to prove himself on the biggest stage. I have to say he impressed! He was facing Anderson at his best and came in when his team were in some difficulty, he had no issues with sending his captain back when he believed a run wasn’t on, that can’t be an easy thing to do when it’s Virat Kohli!
Virat’s 600 wasn’t to be in this first innings, he was out on 49 caught by Joe Root from the bowling of Ben Stokes, he still hadn’t lost his wicket to Jimmy Anderson, I for one was sad that he’d missed another 50. Rishabh Pant didn’t hang around long, he went the way of his captain in Stokes’ next over, with Cook being the catcher this time, gone for 5 and India were 160 for 6. It felt like this was going to be a short test!
For obvious reasons there’ll be photos of Rishabh Pant later on in the test. A man who’d fielded for hours on end in spite of not being in the starting XI, Ravindra Jadeja was in next. He and Vihari would continue on Day 3, the day finished with India on 174 for 6, trailing by 158.