Kohli and Bumrah behind India’s convincing win

 By Kersi Meher-Homji

India’s spirit was very low after a big loss to England in the Lord’s Test last week. Down 2-0 to England in the five Test series, it looked all doom and gloom for Kohli’s Indian cricketers.

But they have lifted themselves with a massive 202 run victory over England yesterday, thanks to magnificent batting by skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane and tight swing bowling by Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Hardik Pandya.

England’s captain Joe Root won the toss and sent India in to bat. As if saying “Thank you” India scored 329, Kohli 97 with 11 fours and Rahane 81 with 12 fours added 159 runs for the fourth wicket. England’s fast bowlers Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes took three wickets each.

Experts had criticised the inclusion of all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the Indian team. But he made the critics eat their words by capturing 5 for 28 as cocksure England crumbled for 161, trailing India by 168 runs.

India once again batted confidently and declared at 7 for 352, setting England an astronomical and never before achieved target of 521 to win. The batsmen to take India to such unbeatable position were Kohli (103, his 23rd century in his 69th Test) and Cheteshwas Pujara (72) who added 113 runs for the third wicket. Between them they had smacked 19 fours, Kohli 10 and Pujara nine.

Pandya also shone out with the bat hitting an unbeaten 52 enriched by seven fours and a six. England’s leg spinner Adil Rashid took 3 for 101.

Chasing 521 runs to win England was in dire stress, losing 4 for 62. But they saved the humiliation of one of the worst defeat in Test history with a gritty fifth wicket stand of 169. Jos Buttler (106 runs with 21 fours) and Ben Stokes (62 with six fours) enabled England to take the match to the fifth day.

Fast-medium Jasprit Bumrah took 5 for 85, England was dismissed for 317 and lost by 202 runs.

This was a match to savour for India’s debutant wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant, aged 20. He equalled the world record for the most number of catches on Test debut for a wicketkeeper (seven). Shabash Rishabh!

This was a must win match for India as England had won the first Test at Birmingham by 31 runs and the second at Lord’s by an innings and 159 runs. India can still win the Pataudi Trophy by winning the next two Tests; the fourth starting at Southampton on 30th August and the fifth and final Test starting at The Oval, London on 7th September.

In three Tests so far Kohli has scored most runs, 440 runs at an average of 73.33. The next best is England’s Jonny Bairstow, way behind, 206 runs at 41.20.

From 0-2 down to win the series 3-2 will be a huge achievement for India and her skipper Kohli. In two of the first three Tests, Kohli has scored 200; 149 and 51 in the first Test at Birmingham and 97 and 103 in the just concluded Northamptonshire Test.

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