INDIA TOUR OF ENGLAND, 2018
The star of the innings was Virat Kohli, who paid all spirits of the horror of 2014 firmly by closing his second hundred of the series. © Getty
As far as domination is concerned, it will not be better than what India enjoyed on Monday, August 20, in Nottingham. Already in a great position with 124 for 2 with a lead of 292, India hammered England into the ground with a disciplined man, even if it sometimes borders on a slow batting effort. By the end of the day, and with two extras to go, India collected 352 for 7 decl, making England face a world record hunt for a series victory.
The star of the innings, as it has been three times in six innings in England, was Virat Kohli, who flawlessly paid all the spirits of the 2014 horror by closing his second hundred of the series. But this time also the other batters came to the party. Cheteshwar Pujara played 208 balls for 72, Rahane played 94 for his 29, while Hardik Pandya hit a quick-fire 50 at the end.
It had started from the previous day; Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul had already laid a firm foundation the last night, Kohli and Pujara benefited optimally.
As Sunil Gavaskar emphasized again and again, the couple gave the first hour to the bowlers. Anderson and Co. gained a lot of respect when the runs came in a stream. Pujara offered the only chance of the morning, but was dropped by Jos Buttler on second slip. The depressing position of England was further exacerbated when Jonny Bairstow was taken off the field with an injured finger, which was later confirmed by the ECB.
India added the score shortly thereafter. By the end of the session both batsmen had raised their fifty when India ended with 194 for 2 at lunch. Pujara had shown a show of his temperament, blocking the majority of his deliveries and only scoring the bad for scoring. Kohli was a bit more offensive, but because of his free flowing standards it was still slow. It almost seemed as if India was planning to hit long and put England hard on the field. Given the amount of time to go into the game, it was perfectly logical.
India continued to grind England in the next session when Ben Stokes broke the monotony by getting Pujara out for 72, with a ball that bounced a bit more to take the lead to Cook on the first panties. It was hardly a shock that India felt. Kohli began to change his arm a bit and the gait flowed more freely, while Rahane defended comfortably.
India could still afford to play slowly and pile up the track, and when England took the new ball, the priority for fast runs again was in the back seat. Kohli, now in his zone, easily played the bowlers who scored heavily on the leg side before he cashed when the bowlers went wide. By tea, he had reached 93, and India 270 for 3. With the leadership now more than 400, the whisper of explanation began to float around.
Kohli was in the first innings for 97, which was the second time he was out in the 90s. It could have been the third if Keaton Jennings had caught a catch. Anderson caused the advantage of Kohli swinging hard, but Jennings let the ball somehow pass through him for a boundary. In the next day, Kohli Woakes drove widely to get his 23rd Test Hundred. He raised his arms with delight and pointed the stick to his wife in the stands.
Not long after he was from LBW to Woakes, he failed to put bat on the ground. Pant followed shortly thereafter, from Anderson for 1, but in Pandya India found the fireworks they were looking for.
Pandya had already put his impression on the game with a fiff from the previous ball. Now with a bat, he proved how useful he can be. Stylish flicks, exaggerated stations, cruel cuts and wild slogs all came to the fore when he threw a ball 52, strewn with 7 and a 6, as a statement loomed.
India's lead quickly passed the 500-point game and 20 runs later, Kohli Pandya and Ashwin called back. India had declared at 352 for 7, England left a record 521 to hunt. That is 189 runs more than their highest ever successful pursuit – 332 v Australia in 1928.
India experienced its most frustrating time in a day and a half when the openers of England refused to nod. Jennings and Cook played with caution and survived a few close calls, because they ended the day at 23 for 0. But it was an overall happy day for India.
Short scores: India 329 & & 352/7 (Virat Kohli 103, Cheteshwar Pujara 72) England 161 & 23/0 by 498 runs.