India are facing another innings defeat as England collected a massive lead of 237 runs in their first innings with still three wickets in hand. Joe Root is unbeaten on 92 and is expected to pile up the lead for the hosts on the third day. Will the Indian batsmen fold quickly without giving any fight like in Manchester remains to be seen. The Oval pitch has plenty to assist the English pacers.
Above pic: LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 16: Joe Root of England acknowledges the crowd as he walks off at the end of day two of the 5th Investec Test match between England and India at The Kia Oval on August 16, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
It was a crucial second day’s play for India as they had to somehow bowl out England cheaply after posting a dismal first innings total of 148. England were already off to a solid start of 62 for no loss when Day 2 began. Varun Aaron, India’s fastest ever bowler gave a quick breakthrough when his full and straight ball knocked out Sam Robson’s off stump in the 2nd over of the morning.
India’s hopes of taking wickets in a hurry were quashed by the century stand between Captain Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance. The pair ensured that India would be content with just the Sam Robson wicket and by lunch, the first innings’ scores were leveled.
Above pic: LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 16: Varun Aaron of India celebrates bowling out Sam Robson of England for 37 runs during day two of the 5th Investec Test match between England and India at The Kia Oval on August 16, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
After lunch, India got a spark thanks to the persistence of the never-say-die Varun Aaron. The speedster had his hands on his head when Murali Vijay at first slip put down a regulation catch offered by Alastair Cook. India’s spirits were soon down and out when Ajinkya Rahane failed to hold on to a reflex catch at slip when Cook edged his cut shot off Ravinchandran Ashwin. But in no time, all that was forgotten as Murali Vijay plucked a low forward diving catch at first slip when Alastair Cook edged his loose drive off a Varun Aaron outswinger.
Cook who never looked to be in touch went on to score a lucky 79 while digging in for 183 balls. After his exit, India fought back tremendously to reduce the score from 191 for 2 to 229 for 5. R Ashwin came up with the wicket of Gary Ballance (64 from 117 balls with 13 fours) with the left hander strangely dabbing a forward defence into the hands of Cheteshwar Pujara at silly point.
Ian Bell got a snorter of a good length delivery from Ishant Sharma which angled in towards off and left him with bounce to force a nick to MS Dhoni. Moeen Ali got bowled with a bottom edge on to the off stump when he decided very late to leave an off break from R Ashwin on the frontfoot. The slide was arrested by the 6th wicket pair of Joe Root and Jos Buttler and in the final session, the duo took the game away from India with their partnership of 80.
The second new ball was wasted by India’s tired pace trio. Jos Buttler scored a precious 45 with 9 fours before he flicked an Ishant Sharma inswinger straight into the hands of short mid wicket. India got a quick wicket after that when Chris Woakes was strangled down the legside for a duck by an innocuous inswinger from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Once again, India was held up with Joe Root forming a stubborn partnership of 67 for the unbroken 8th wicket with Chris Jordan (19*).
England closed the day’s play at 385 for 7 in 105 overs with Joe Root on 92* from just 129 balls with 9 fours and a six.