Alastair Cook's displayed immense composure at the crease with his gritty knock to put England in the driver's seat on Day 2 of the fifth Test match against India at the Oval. At stumps, the hosts enjoy a lead of 154 runs having posted 114 runs for two wickets in the second innings. England's all-time leading Test run-scorer, Alastair Cook and skipper Joe Root will look to resume their third-wicket partnership when they take the field to resume play on the fourth day.
For the visitors, Ravindra Jadeja marked his return to Test cricket after starring with the ball and bat. The Indian all-rounder, who was recalled in place of the injured Ravichandran Ashwin, added to his haul of four wickets in the first innings by top-scoring with an unbeaten 86 runs to help India post a total of 292. The left-hander smashed 11 fours and 1 six in the 156 balls he faced, in his attempt to narrow the gap between the two teams.
Ravindra Jadeja was assisted alongside Hanuman Vihari to resume play from 174 runs for the loss of 6 wickets on Day 3. The Indian duo survived early scares through some aggressive English bowling, led by James Anderson and Stuart Broad. The runs slowly started trickling with the Indian batsmen adding 200 runs on the board after they stitched together a 50-run partnership for the seventh wicket.
The duo slowly started to settle in, with Jadeja opting to attack the English bowlers, while Vihari remained composed and looked to score when the opportunity arised. The debutant's patience paid off as he reached his maiden Test half-century off just 154 balls, and hence justified Virat Kohli's decision to pick him instead of Karun Nair.
The India cricket team appeared to be in a comfortable position heading into lunch, but it was Moen Ali who provided England the much-needed breakthrough by dismissing Vihari for 56 runs. Post lunch, India tried to extend their lead as much as possible but the Indian tailenders failed to live up to the task. Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, were dismissed cheaply for a combined score of 5 runs.
Ravindra's Jadeja's resistance was put to a halt as India were dismissed for 292 in the first innings. In reply, the struggles of the England openers were witnessed yet again. Keaton Jennings continued his dismal form after he was dismissed for 10 runs by Mohammed Shami. However, Cook showed fight and vigor, and seemed more comfortable this time out. Moen Ali tried to steady the ship for the hosts alongside Cook, but was later dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja.
Given the way things stands, England looks in a favorable position to win the fifth Test match. This Test could prove to a major turning point in Virat Kohli's legacy as Indian cricket team captain with the series already sealed 3-1 by the hosts after wins in Birmingham, Lord's and Southampton.