So near yet so far, but the same old story for India at the Kennington Oval in London. The hosts, England, gave their hero Alastair Cook an exceptional send-off with a thrilling victory against Virat Kohli-led side. The man of the occasion, Cook himself played a magnificent knock to sign-off from the game of cricket.
Though India started the Test series on a bright note by accounting for the major wickets on the day one, they failed to show the same spirit in bowling to the tail-enders of the game. They batted beautifully in the presence of Jos Buttler to drop Indian shoulders down.
In reply, Indian openers looked solid in their defence but failed to convert it into a good knock. It was once again Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, who settled the nerves but left their wicket when it mattered the most.
When it looked like England running away with the game, the debutant Hanuma Vihari and the comeback man, Ravindra Jadeja did the job for India. However, the brilliant spell by Englishmen once again pulled back things..
Then came the blistering knock by Cook, who smashed a scintillating 147-run knock in the presence of Joe Root’s 125 – to set a massive 464-run target for India.
In chasing the tally, India got a nightmare of starts by losing three wickets for four runs including Virat Kohli.
However, KL Rahul batted beautifully to smash his fifth Test century. Though wickets are falling on the other end, KL Rahul went on to display his batting skills. He was the lone warrior for India for a major part of the day five.
Rahul and Rishabh Pant almost took the game in India’s way. But the miracle delivery by Adil Rashid changed the things for England. Once the partnership was broken, England rolled Indians to seal a 118-run victory.
KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant showed character – Virat Kohli
”I think a lot of credit has to go to the two young guys. The kind of cricket we have played might not show on the scorecard. But both the teams know this series has been a competitive one. This has been a great advert for Test cricket. The basic idea was to go out there and play the cricket we are supposed to do,” Kohli maintained.
“England is a professional side and we realized that as the game changed within two-three overs. Pant showed a lot of grit and character. We have character in the team and we just need some experience. When you get into a zone when you are not thinking about the result, things go your way,” Kohli said.
”I am delighted for both the guys and it speaks of India’s future. We did not take out oppurtunities. England also don’t go for draws and they played fearless cricket and so did we. That is why you won’t see draws in these kind of Series’. We can take a lot of heart from this but apply ourselves better the next time around,” he added.
Sam Curran made the difference – Virat Kohli
The Indian skipper Kohli further added that the Man of the Series for England, Sam Curran made the massive difference in the game. He added that India could learn a lot from Curran for his great character.
”There is a reason why we voted for Sam to be the Man of the series. It takes character to come in and play like that. He put England forward in the 1st and 4th Test match. There should be exiciting pitches all over the result. The fans will come and watch if both teams play for a win. Just one word for Cook. You have had a great career. All the best for all your future endveaours,’‘ he inferred.
However, it has been a great series for England and India too who got their perks. As Virat Kohli said, though they didn’t get the required results, the fans knew that how hard they fought for the victory.