Ind vs Eng: Jos Buttler and Co. push India to the brink on Day 2

Sep 09, 2018, 08:00 IST | Gaurav Joshi

England pacers restrict India to 174-6 on Day Two after birthday boy Jos Buttler takes hosts to 332

Ind vs Eng: Jos Buttler and Co. push India to the brink on Day 2
England's Ben Stokes is ecstatic after claiming the wicket of India skipper Virat Kohli on Day Two of the fifth Test at the Oval on Saturday. Pic/AFP

For the fifth consecutive Test match, England's tail wagged as Virat Kohli and the Indian bowlers failed to conjure up a plan to restrict the hosts to a below-par total. Resuming Day Two on 198 for seven, Jos Buttler sparkled on his birthday to score a brilliant 89 which propelled England to a competitive first innings total of 332 here on Saturday.

In response, India were reduced to 174 for six with debutant Hanuma Vihari on 25 and Ravindra Jadeja on eight. But while Buttler was at his scintillating best, Kohli made it easy for the England No.7 by employing defensive field settings right from the outset. The pitch had quickened up considerably on Day Two and the Indian bowlers zipped the ball off the surface. Adil Rashid hung around for 35 minutes before Jasprit Bumrah trapped him in front for 15. But from that point onwards, Kohli went on the defensive by placing fielders where the ball went and in the process allowed Buttler to accumulate runs at relative ease.

England's Jos Buttler en route his 89 on Saturday. Pic/AFP
England's Jos Buttler en route his 89 on Saturday. Pic/AFP

The run-rate for the session tricked over four an over as Buttler made merry of some ill discipline bowling. Stuart Broad added to India's frustrations as he played some handsome shots to combine for a partnership of 98 with Buttler for the ninth wicket. Broad finally fell, trying to hit Ravindra Jadeja over the top for a well-made 38. Buttler smashed Bumrah for a couple of sixes before Jadeja had him caught at slip to give the left-arm spinner figures of 30-0-79-4.

India's innings got off to a horrible start with Shikhar Dhawan falling leg before wicket on Broad's first delivery. KL Rahul, on the other hand, came out all guns blazing. The right-hander punished anything that was marginally wide outside the off-stump and even played a lofted drive over covers for a boundary. Along with Cheteshwar Pujara, he took India to 53 for one at the tea interval.

Rahul started the final session with a couple of crisp back-foot boundaries, but just when a big score looked imminent, he was cleaned bowled by an absolute jaffa by Sam Curran for 37. The arrival of Kohli energised the Englishmen and Joe Root immediately turned to James Anderson.

For 40 minutes it was cricket of the highest calibre. Kohli survived a close leg before shout but marched on with some exquisite drives. Pujara also looked in good touch, but Anderson eventually found his outside edge and he departed for 37. Rahane followed soon, edging Anderson to first slip as India fell to 103-4.

As has often been the case in this series, Kohli batted splendidly but he was caught by Root off Ben Stokes one short of his half century. Vihari, who came in at No. 6 witnessed the dismissal of his second colleague from the other end when wicketkeeper Rishab Pant was caught by Alastair Cook at slip.

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