London : India’s susceptibility to quality swing bowling once again came to the fore as they struggled to reach 174 for six after England’s tail wagged considerably to give the hosts an upperhand on the second day of the fifth and final Test here on Saturday.
India still trail England by another 158 runs with four wickets in hand and three full day’s play remaining in the match.
Courtesy birthday boy Jos Buttler’s 89 and his 98-run ninth-wicket stand with Stuart Broad (38), England managed a decent first innings score of 332 after they were struggling at 198 for seven at the end of first day’s play.
In reply, India’s top-order disappointed once again with Shikhar Dhawan (3) failing once again in what could be his last Test innings for a considerable period of time. KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara made identical 37 to stitch together 64 runs for the second wicket to stabilise
the Indian innings before the English bowlers got back into the groove, picking up crucial wickets when it mattered.
At stumps, debutant Hanuma Vihari was unbeaten on 25 with Ravindra Jadeja (8 not out) for company as India lost their way after tea.
After the final break of the day, conditions favoured bowlers a lot more under heavy cloudy conditions and floodlights as the ball darted around with James Anderson (2-20) and Sam Curran (1-46) troubling the Indian batsmen most.
Rahul looked set for a big score before Curran went through his defense with a nearly unplayable delivery in the 23rd over.
Thereafter, India lost three wickets for 33 runs as Anderson wreaked havoc with the moving ball, dismissing both Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in quick succession. Pujara was caught behind, while Rahane (0) was caught at slip in the space of 13 balls.
Just like previous matches, India skipper Virat Kohli (49) looked in great nick and seemed determined to take his side out of troubled waters with positive intent.
He hit six boundaries during his 70-ball knock and looked batting easy even as his colleagues struggled.
But Kohli perished while trying to be too positive, edging a Ben Stokes (2-44) delivery to his counterpart Joe Root at the slip cordon.
Vihari looked out of sorts against Stuart Broad’s (1/25) inswingers initially. The bowler had two LBW shouts against the debutants — the first of which looked out on replays but England didn’t opt for DRS.
Vihari then regained his composure and batted till the end of day in company of Ravindra Jadeja (8 not out).
Over night: 198-7
Buttler c Rahane b Jadeja…………. 89
Rashid lbw b Bumrah………… 15
Broad c Rahul b Jadeja………… 38
Anderson not out………… 0
Extras: (b 26, lb 9)…….. 35
Total: (all out; 122 overs) 332
Bowling: Bumrah 30-9-83-3, Ishant 31-12-62-3, Vihari 1-0-1-0, Shami
30-7-72-0, Jadeja 30-0-79-4.
Rahul b Curran…………. 37
Dhawan lbw b Broad…………. 3
Pujara c Bairstow b Anderson………37
Kohli c Root b Stokes…………. 49
Rahane c Cook b Anderson…………. 0
Vihari not out………….. 25
Pant c Cook b Stokes………… 5
Jadeja not out…………. 8
Extras: (b 4, lb 6)…….. 10
Total: (6 wkts; 51 overs) 174
Bowling: Anderson 11-3-22-2, Broad 11-3-25-1, Stokes 11-1-45-2, Curran
10-1-46-1, Moeen 8-0-29-0.