Anchorman Kohli secures draw for India in first Test (Roundup)

Rajkot, Nov 13 (IANS) Skipper Virat Kohli hit a responsible unbeaten 49 runs to help India secure a nervy draw on the final day of the first cricket Test against England here on Sunday.

Chasing a 310-run target, India survived anxious moments before posting 172/6 in their second innings to force the draw on the fifth and final day at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

Kohli was accompanied by local lad Ravindra Jadeja (32 not out) when the match ended inconclusively.

Spinner Adil Rashid (3/64) was England’s most successful bowler in the second innings. His fellow spinners Moeen Ali and Zafar Ansari took one wicket each.

Earlier, England declared their second innings at 260/3 shortly after lunch — an overall lead of 309 runs — with captain Alastair Cook slamming a fine knock of 130 runs — his 30th Test century and fifth in India.

It left the hosts to chase 310 runs off a minimum 49 overs on the degrading Rajkot pitch.

India were reduced to 71/4 quickly, and were left battling for survival in Rajkot, which hosted its first ever Test match. They lost Gautam Gambhir (0) in the second over of the second innings, dismissed by pacer Chris Woakes. Joe Root took a simple catch at second slip to send back the opener.

Following the wicket, came Cheteshwar Pujara (18), who along with Vijay forged a crucial 47-run partnership for the second wicket to steady the inning.

But just when things seemed good, spinner Adil Rashid sent back Pujara shortly before the tea break. Pujara missed the straight delivery from Rahid and was struck right in front.

India were 49/2 at tea requiring still 261 more runs to win.

The post-tea session saw a downward spiral that also accounted for opener Murali Vijay (31). This hurt India’s cause as both Pujara and Vijay were dismissed within the space of nine deliveries after having got set. Ajinkya Rahane (1) also didn’t last long.

Kohli then steadied the chase with a timely 47-run partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin (32).

But India were subjected to further pressure when Ashwin departed at 118/5 with a minimum 11 overs still left to play. Wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha (9) was the next to go.

But Kohli, with considerable help from Jadeja, nipped England’s hopes in the bud.

Earlier, England captain Alastair Cook (130) slammed his 30th century to pull England to 260/3, extending their overall lead to 309, when they declared after lunch.

It was Cook’s fifth century in India, that put the visitors in a commanding position.

England began the day at 114/0, an overall lead of 163, with Cook unbeaten on 46 and Haseeb Hameed not out on 62.

They continued their solid opening wicket partnership and stretched their association to 180, denying India any chance of quick breakthroughs to get back into the match.

They added 97 runs in the first session before losing Hameed (82) and Joe Root (4) in similar fashion — slog sweeps in search of quick runs — to set up their declaration.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra took two wickts for 60 runs. The other wicket belonged to Ashwin.

–IANS

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