India 170 for 6 (Kohli 49, Vihari 25 *, Anderson 2-20) trail England 332 (Buttler 89, Cook 71, Moeen 50, Jadeja 4-79, Ishant 3- 62, Bumrah 3-83) for 158 races
For the last time, the lower order of England bothered himself against India and turned the test round in every way. Oh, wait, there's one more ticket left, right?
The last four terrains contributed 151 runs in the Oval, with Jos Buttler guiding the queue with another possibility of substance. He will end the summer as England's top scorer; the gap between him and No. 2 is currently 199 races. Not bad for a left field selection. India, meanwhile, came to the close with 170 for 6, all their specialist hitters returned to the pavilion, excluding debutant Hanuma Vihari.
As striking as Buttler's 89 was, there was little that could compete with a fired one. until James Anderson. His first spell was bizarrely preserved at just two overs, but after little tea, with Virat Kohli in the fold, India 94 for 2 and Dukes' ball 28 on age, it was time. The first delivery went through the outer edge of the Indian captain. And the third one almost had him, an inswinger who only decided to be one so late. But the terrain only came when the Indian captain was at the other end. Anderson convinced an outer edge of Cheteshwar Pujara and in his next step, Ajinkya Rahane was caught in the first slip.
Three more hits and Glenn McGrath will come out.
Anderson should want one of them to be Kohli, and maybe No. 564 will be. This battle has lasted 270 balls and produced 54 songs of plays and failures: that is a false shot in five contested deliveries. Still, Kohli is the most active candidate in this series, and completed his account with 49 other races. He has made 593 in nine innings, but it can not be denied that luck has played a role.
The next man on the list is Buttler, who made his fourth fifty in 11 innings. The Indian bowlers were unbridled when he came out the night before and, except for a couple of very close cries, and the 19 times he was defeated, he had his measure. He was 15 out of 48 at the same time – he's done a ODI century against two fewer deliveries – and he finished 89 out of 133. That's perfect for a No. 7 batsman. Take a little time to judge the conditions, then go up to his bike and frustrate a bowling attack that he thought that more than half of his work was done. England rose from 181 by 7 to 332.
Stuart Broad was equally important to that total of balloons beyond normal proportions. Middlesó only 61% of the balls he faced, but India could not get any consolation from that. With your help, the association of the ninth wicket added 98 races in only 122 balls. That's an index of almost five, when throughout the first day of this test, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami kept it at 2.
As if that were not enough, the first ball he played turned into a wicket . Surrounding the stumps, Broad stuffed an inswinger into the pads of Shikhar Dhawan – the left-handed threw himself forward and forward in an effort to reduce the chances of it being cut – and made it surpass Sir Richard's 431 test stand. Hadlee.
KL Rahul was the opener who survived the first exchanges and did so by batting like a man who had been looking at his stats for too long. He reached an average of 16 from six innings and started cutting insinuations that offered him very little space, throwing the first ball of Ben Stokes' game to the limit of coverage and advancing at a rate of 100 or more until the ninth inning. Finally, he calmed down and could have felt good about himself at 39 of 52 when Sam Curran summoned the demons of this release.
The ball was full, Hawkeye suggested somewhere in the 4 to 6m mark, and for much of his trip he behaved as an inswinger. Rahul covered him and gaped when the ball dried and he kissed one side of the stump. The bail of the leg was still standing, while the rest of the world was thinking about Wasim Akram against Rahul Dravid in 1999.
Indian sealers did not worry about that length often enough. There was a lot of help for them in this Oval field, regardless of the age of the ball, but the hitters can adjust to the whole movement if the ball is even slightly short. Broad would not have 38 or last 59 balls if Ishant, Bumrah and Shami had been more disciplined. Eventually he needed a phenomenal catch of Rahul, his thirteenth in the series, running back from the middle, to get rid of England No. 10.
Kohli, too, was responsible for the race overrun in the morning, setting up the field back against Buttler and allowing him simple games of two in two, and much less simple. Sometimes, the field stayed away even when it was time for the last two balls at the end, which allowed the specialist hitter to have every chance of retaining the shot. India allowed England to get off the leash and is now looking to give away a massive advantage, which defines matches.