England make India toil hard for a draw

RAJKOT: England gained the psychological advantage after enjoying the upper-hand for the better part of five days after India survived a scare before managing a draw in the first test on Sunday at Rajkot.

England set a stiff target of 310 in a minimum of 49 overs, India managed to reach 172 for six in 52.3 overs. India were never in the hunt to achieve a near impossible target on a difficult final day pitch and lost top order early in the final innings.

Kohli, though, stayed firm as the Test grew tenser in the last 10 overs. England tried everything. They brought all the fielders in, their reserve fielders sat the edge of the boundary to save time should India hit boundaries. Kohli saved the match in his own way by scoring 49 runs in 98 balls.

Earlier, Alastair Cook scored his 30th Test century with England declaring at 260 for 3 in the second innings. On a fifth day pitch that didn’t show considerable signs of wear and tear, the Indian spinners barring a brief spell by Amit Mishra (2/60 in 13 overs), were rendered ineffective by captain Cook, who batted for nearly five hours to hit 13 fours in 243 balls.

The worrying aspect will be the veteran opener Gautam Gambhir’s form and technical deficiencies that were again exposed in front of some quality seam bowling.

Next match of the five match test series is scheduled to be played in Visakhapatnam from November 17-23.

Brief Scores: England 537 (Stokes 128, Root 124, Moeen 117) and 260 for 3 decl. (Cook 130, Hameed 82) drew with India 488 (Vijay 126, Pujara 124, Ashwin 70, Rashid 4-114) and 172 for 6 (Kohli 49*, Rashid 3-64)

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