India vs England: Joe Root hails perfect finish after winning Oval Test

Alastair Cook got a winning farewell and spearhead James Anderson took the last wicket to emerge the most successful fast bowler in the game at the Oval on Tuesday.

Updated: Sep 12, 2018 08:44:29

By N Ananthanarayanan

English players celebrate after winning the five-Test series against India. (REUTERS)

England skipper Joe Root hailed a perfect finish to their series against India after Alastair Cook got a winning farewell and spearhead James Anderson took the last wicket to emerge the most successful fast bowler in the game at the Oval on Tuesday.

To top it, leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who has faced criticism since Root pushed for his selection despite the bowler refusing to play first-class cricket for Yorkshire, got one to rip and turn from the rough outside leg to hit off-stump and dismiss KL Rahul for 149.

Once Rashid broke Rahul’s threatening 204-run partnership with fellow centurion Rishabh Pant, it gave England control to win the match by 218 runs in the final session of play.

“For Alastair to go out like that, and Jimmy to finish the game off in real style was so fitting for those two guys – who are really close mates. They’re going to miss playing with each other,” Root said after the match.

“When you saw Alastair’s hundred, you could see the guys on the balcony what it meant to them,” he said about Cook’s 147 in his final innings with Root scoring 125 at the other end.

England struggled with their top-order batting and uncertainties with wicket-keeping coming into the Oval Test, but everything came good as India fought back but could not pull off an improbable victory.


Rashid’s delivery to the well-set Rahul (149), who was stunned as he played defensively, will be mentioned in the same breath as Shane Warne’s “ball of the century” leg-break to bowl Mike Gatting in the first 1993 Ashes Test at Old Trafford.

“It was a brilliant delivery. Rash has that in him – that’s why we have him in the side, because he has the ability to change games, turn situations like that on their head,” Root said. He did not bring on his Yorkshire teammate till the 45th over in the first place, but then delayed taking the second new ball.

Rashid vindicated persisting with him ahead of off-spinner Moeen Ali by also having Pant caught in the deep and effectively end India’s resistance.

Rashid had bowled Virat Kohli with a huge leg-break in the final ODI at Leeds, Headingley to help England clinch the deciding game of the series before the Tests started.

“Credit has to go to those two guys for the way they played in that middle session … they made it very difficult for us.

“We came off at tea with all three results still possible – which for me shows Test cricket is in a really good place.”

Root hoped Anderson, England’s most capped player after the retired Cook, continues to play on beyond the Sri Lanka tour at the yearend and next year’s Ashes series at home. Anderson, 36, is looking to take it game by game and the team management has spoken about managing his workload.

“What Jimmy has achieved, and what he’s capable of achieving still, is astounding really,” Root said. “For him to be in the same league as McGrath, and now chasing the big two spinners, is phenomenal.

“The most exciting thing is he’s bowling at his best … and I can see that carrying forward for a long time still. I hope there’s going to be a number of series in the future where he is leading the attack, and terrorising batters.”

First Published: Sep 12, 2018 08:40:50


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