England seamers trouble India once again

London, Sep 02 (PTI): Bolstered by the inclusion of Chris Woakes, England seamers once again tormented the Indian top-order batsmen, leaving them rattled at 54 for 3 in the opening session of the fourth Test here on Thursday.
India’s openers Rohit Sharma (11) and KL Rahul (17), after showing initial promise, were done in by high quality seam bowling, while Cheteshwar Pujara (4) got one from James Anderson that could easily qualify to be the “ball of the series”.
At the lunch break, Virat Kohli (18 batting) was soldiering on in company of Ravindra Jadeja (2 batting), who was given a promotion at No.5 ahead of two out-of-form batters — Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant — under cloudy conditions.
England captain Joe Root called it right at the toss and knowing India’s struggling batting line-up, promptly put them into bat. Both Rohit and Rahul punished the loose deliveries from Anderson with 28 runs added within first 35-odd minutes before Woakes (5-4-4-1) was brought into the attack replacing the senior-most pacer, who looked a bit tight during that spell.
A fuller delivery outside the channel with extra bounce saw the normally patient Rohit jabbing at it and the catch was taken by wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow. Rahul, who had already hit three boundaries, was ready to pounce on anything over-pitched outside the off-stump before Ollie Robinson (8-6-8-1) got one to jag back sharply from length and the TV replays showed that the ball would have clipped the bail. The on-field umpire’s decision was upheld. Kohli joined Pujara, who was again defending dourly save the one that got on his pads, which was clipped to the boundary. However Anderson (8-1-28-1), who has dismissed Pujara more times than his skipper, bowled a delivery just in the corridor of uncertainty. Pujara played for the inswing but once it pitched, the ball took the outside edge into Bairstow’s gloves.
At 39 for 3, there was more surprise in store as Jadeja walked in, perhaps to unsettle the bowlers with a left-right combination going for them.
The skipper, during the 29 balls he faced, looked more assured with his trigger movement as the right leg seemed more planted on the middle-stump as he got three boundaries.

Ashwin overlooked again

New Delhi: A couple of days back, Ravichandran Ashwin posted pictures on social media in which he was seen doing shadow batting. In one, he was playing the cover drive and in the other, he could be seen practising leaving the deliveries. Nothing was out of place only that he was practising left-handed and the accompanying tweet read “The desire to ignite something different everyday never burns out.” It was perhaps his way of telling the world that may be “left” would have been the “right choice”. On Thursday, Indian skipper Virat Kohli once again announced at the toss that India’s fourth highest wicket-taker in Test cricket would not be among the five best bowlers who would be playing the Oval Test against England. Ravindra Jadeja, with two wickets from last three Tests, was persisted with for his left-handed willow wielding. “It’s something that we thought is a good match-up for Jadeja as well, because mostly all our seamers bowl over the wicket. It’s a nice little spot for the left-handers as well. “I think according to the match-ups, it fits perfectly for our team – plus the balance he is giving us with the bat as well currently,” explained Kohli.
But were observers of the game convinced?
“The non selection of ashwinravi99 has to be greatest NON selection we have ever witnessed across 4 Tests in the UK !!! 413 Test wickets & 5 Test 100s !!!! Madness,” former England captain Michael Vaughan was aghast on twitter.
One can discount Vaughan, whose comments on Indian cricket can be way off the mark, but even the normally reticent and elegant Mark Waugh was sharp.
“Makes you wonder if the Indian think tank have any clue,” ‘Junior’ replied on Vaughan’s comments section.
Worse, Ashwin is not being left because he is an inferior spinner compared to Jadeja.
But yes, Ashwin is definitely paying the price for a brittle middle-order that is performing well below expectations.


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