Ind vs Eng: KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant put on a show but hosts take series 4-1
England hand Alastair Cook the perfect farewell as they earn a 4-1 series win, but Indian young guns light up Day Five at Oval
For over three hours on the fifth day of the final Test at the Oval yesterday it seemed like India could salvage a draw from an improbable situation. Both KL Rahul and Rishab Pant had prolonged the Test late into the final session by scoring masterful centuries. However, as has often been the case throughout the series, England won the decisive moment and clinched the final Test by 118 runs to claim the Pataudi Trophy series 4-1.
Resuming on 58-3, Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane continued to repel James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the first hour with some gritty batting. The pitch had lost its zing, but Rahane and Rahul ensured they stroked the loose balls to the boundary. Both drove in imperious fashion and the ease at which the pair batted prompted Joe Root to turn to Moeen Ali. The move would prove to be an immediate success as Rahane top-edged a sweep to be caught at mid-wicket for 37. Ben Stokes then got rid of Hanuma Vihari (0).
At 121-5, an early finish looked likely, but there was still a twist in the tale. Pant and Rahul showed great application to keep the scorecard ticking over. The Karnataka man batted with great freedom and never allowed the England bowlers to settle. He reached his fifth Test ton by slapping Stokes to the long-off boundary as India went to lunch at 167-5. Pant brought up his fifty in just 78 balls as India moved past 250. Suddenly, England had gone on the defensive and Pant continued his assault against Adil Rashid. He smashed two sixes to move into the nineties, before bringing up his maiden Test century by smashing Rashid into the stands.
With the score reading 298-5 at tea, England desperately needed a breakthrough. Rashid finally broke the 204-run partnership by knocking over Rahul (149) with a big spinning leg-break out of the rough. Pant then holed out in the deep for a brilliant 114 as India slumped to 328-7. Sam Curran snared Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma with the second new ball before James Anderson closed out the Test by knocking over Mohammad Shami for a duck to become the most successful fast bowler of all time with 564 wickets.
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