Rahul frustrates England and Anderson at The Oval

AFP, LONDON

Wed, Sep 12, 2018 - Page 16

James Anderson was kept waiting yesterday for the one wicket he needed to become the most successful fast bowler in Test history as England closed in on a victory over India at The Oval in London.

India opener K.L. Rahul was an impressive 108 not out in a total of 167-5 at lunch on the final day of the fifth and final Test.

That left India, already 3-1 down in the series, requiring a further 297 runs to reach a notional victory target of 464.

India resumed on 58-3.

Rahul was 46 not out and Ajinkya Rahane unbeaten on 10, with the pair having come together when India were a dire 2-3.

All eyes were on paceman Anderson, who needed just one more wicket to break the record of 563 he shared with Australia great Glenn McGrath after rocking India with a double strike late on Monday.

Anderson bowled yesterday’s first over, with the overcast conditions appearing to favor England’s quicks, but Rahul clipped his sixth delivery of the day leg-side for four to complete a half-century — the first by an India opener this series — off 57 balls.

Rahul rightly survived a leg before wicket appeal from off-spinner Moeen Ali on 62 when an England review confirmed he had been struck outside the line of off-stump playing a shot, but with both batsmen going well, a stand of 118 ended when Rahane (37) miscued a sweep off Ali to Keaton Jennings at midwicket.

India’s 120-4 was soon transformed into 121-5 when Ben Stokes struck with his fourth ball of the day.

Test debutant Hanuma Vihari, who made 56 in India’s first innings, fell for a duck when, trying to withdraw the bat, he got a thin edge to England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

Rahul then slapped Stokes over extra-cover for six to go into the 90s in extraordinary fashion before his top-edged pull for four off the all-rounder took him to 97.

The 26-year-old then pulled the paceman through mid-off, another remarkable boundary, to complete his fifth century in 29 Tests.

Rahul reached three figures in just 118 balls faced, including 16 fours and a six.

England were already in a commanding position after Alastair Cook, their all-time leading run-scorer, had marked his final Test before international retirement with 147 in a total of 423-8 declared on Monday that also included captain Joe Root’s 125.