Kohli helps India secure a draw

Those in the stands and the Indian dressing room appeared anxious during the host's second innings. But Virat Kohli calmed their nerves with a remarkable show of grit and technical proficiency that was absent in many of his colleagues.

virat kohli

Virat Kohli struck useful partnerships with Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to see India through to safety.   -  AP

India was put through the wringer for the first time at home in four years by a visiting team’s spin department: Moeen Ali, the offie, was its most experienced. Supporting him were left-arm orthodox bowler Zafar Ansari and wrist spinner Adil Rashid.

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Given that Alastair Cook, after completing his 30th century in the morning, chose to give his bowlers as little as 49 overs to skittle out the home team on a virtually powder-top surface, the trio would have expected to bowl the most. They did, but Indian captain Virat Kohli halted them in their tracks with an outstanding display with the bat. He was the man of the hour during the second half of Sunday.

 

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It was a heart-in-mouth feeling for the biggest turn out in five days of the inaugural Test match here when the England spinners were in action. Those in the host's dressing room appeared anxious too. But Kohli calmed their nerves with a remarkable show of grit and technical proficiency that was absent in many of his colleagues.

After being the vanguard of his team’s fightback, Kohli returned to the dressing room with another feather in his cap. Ravindra Jadeja’s boundary-hitting in the closing stages of the match raised the entertainment quotient.

Earlier, the England captain declared the second innings after parrying the Indian attack with a great deal of comfort along with 19-year-old Haseeb Hammed. The latter batted for nearly four hours till Amit Mishra scalped him. By now, England had 180 on the board.

Mishra struck again forcing a top edge off Joe Root’s bat. An over later, Cook reached his century, stretching his team's lead to 244. He declared only after getting out to Ravichandran Ashwin in the 10th over after lunch, leaving India to chase 310.

Eleven balls into the fourth innings, with no runs on the board, Chris Woakes forced Gautam Gambhir to steer a short ball straight to Root at second slip.

Cook rotated his spinners, bringing in Ansari first. Vijay and Pujara handled deliveries that turned, skidded and jumped. Cook dropped Vijay's forceful drive off Ansari. The left-arm spinner then saw Pujara's catch spilled by Stuart Broad at backward point.

Rashid provided England's next breakthrough trapping Pujara LBW. The replays confirmed that the ball had pitched outside the leg stump. But he did not press for the Decision Review System (DRS). Vijay had already turned his back after the umpire had given Pujara out.

From 47 for 1, India slipped to 71 for four, when Ashwin joined his captain. There were at least five fielders around the bat, sometimes six with two forward short legs and a backward point to bring LBW into play. A silly point and slip were stationed when Ali was in action. But Ashwin and Kohli played out 15 overs getting the team out of peril.

Kohli and Jadeja batted for ten overs before the umpires uprooted the stumps to signal the end of an absorbing Test match.