Virat Kohli and Ravichandra Ashwin produced a 47-run partnership after a collapse in the top order to rescue a draw for the home side in the first Test in Rajkot. Earlier, India were handed a target of 310 runs after England captain Alistair Cook scored his 30th Test hundred in the second innings.
Brief Scores: England 537(Ben Stokes 128; Ravindra Jadeja 3/86) & 114-0(Alistair Cook 130; Amit Mishra 2/60) drew with India 488(Murali Vijay 126; Adil Rashid 4/114) & 172/6(Virat Kohli 49*; Adil Rashid 3/64)
Like every other morning session in the first Test, England got off to a good start with both openers scoring slowly at first but increasing the run rate gradually. Youngster Haseeb Hameed fell 18 runs short of a maiden Test century when he was caught by Amit Mishra off his own bowling. Joe Root came to the crease and was sent back in double quick time when he tried to slog-sweep Mishra but the ball took a thick edge and Saha was able to collect it easily.
England made their intentions clear when they sent in Ben Stokes after Root's dismissal in hope of scoring so quick runs. The move worked as Stokes brought some much-needed urgency to the English batting. Even Cook, who had scored his fifty in 122 balls, took just 72 balls to complete his 30th Test century. England went in for lunch with the scoreboard reading 211/2. After the interval, England scored 49 runs in just 9 overs and Cook's dismissal by Ashwin resulted in England declaring their innings at a score of 260/3.
Chasing a target of 310, India got off to the worst possible start with Gautam Gambhir falling in the second over of the innings edging a Chris Woakes ball to second slip. The Vijay-Pujara duo, who came up with a 209-run partnership in the first innings, steadied the innings taking the score above 30 in 10 overs. In the very next over, however, Stuart Broad dropped a fairly easy Pujara catch after the Indian had misjudged the flight of a Zafar Ansari ball.
Five overs later, Pujara was sent back to the dressing room by Rashid after the former was adjudged LBW by Umpire Dharmasena. The replays suggested that the ball had pitched outside leg stump and a review would have given the Saurashtra batsman another lifeline. Indian coach Anil Kumble did not look amused when Pujara entered the dressing room exchanging a few angry words with the batsman. An over later all the players returned to the dressing room to prepare for the last session of the engrossing Test
After the break, India lost two quick wickets in consecutive overs in the shape of Vijay and Rahane, who had replaced the former. Ravichandran Ashwin, who scored an important half-century in the first innings, arrived ahead of Wriddhiman Saha once again to join Virat Kohli at the crease. The duo showed great maturity not trying to go after bowlers but just force a draw in the Test.
Ashwin survived an English review when Ali caught him on the pads in front of the stumps. The review suggested that the ball would have gone on to hit leg stump but the contact had been made outside the line of off-stump. England, however, made a late surge dismissing Ashwin and Saha in a space of five overs much to the dismay of the spectators. But the Indian captain, who scored an unbeaten 49, and Ravindra Jadeja made sure that the match ended as a draw.
Lasith Malinga or Bhuvneshwar Kumar? Who will take more wickets?
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