Channel NewsAsia

Cricket: Dhoni defiant but England on top in fifth Test

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni stood alone as the tourists suffered yet another batting collapse to hand England the advantage on the first day of the fifth and final Test at The Oval.

LONDON: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni stood alone as the tourists suffered yet another batting collapse to hand England the advantage on the first day of the fifth and final Test at The Oval.

At Friday's close, England were 62 without loss in reply to India's meagre 148 all out, a deficit of 86 runs.

England captain Alastair Cook was 24 not out and Australia-born Sam Robson, driving well after a run of low scores, 33 not out as the hosts looked to extend their 2-1 series lead. Earlier, Dhoni made 82 - more than 55 percent of India's runs - in an innings where only Murali Vijay (18) and Ravichandran Ashwin (13) also got into double figures.

Seam-bowling all-rounders Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan took three wickets apiece after James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who had two each, quickly justified Cook's decision to field first in overcast conditions on a green-tinged pitch.

"To bowl them out for under 150 is fantastic, and the way the boys batted at the end was brilliant," Woakes, whose return of three for 30 was a Test-best, told Sky Sports.

"Dhoni played pretty well. When he's in that sort of mood he's pretty good at it.

"But we would have taken that (148) at the start of the day," added the Warwickshire all-rounder, now in his fourth Test after an Oval debut against Australia last year.

"The pitch was a little bit helpful for us today and we got the rewards for it."

India, as in their innings and 54-run defeat inside three days in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, lost five wickets before lunch. Their top order again lacked the technique or the application to cope with deliveries that swung and seamed off the pitch. And but for Ian Bell dropping last man Ishant Sharma in the slips, India would have been all out for 95.

Instead the recalled paceman helped Dhoni add 58 for the last wicket - easily the best stand of the innings.

Thursday saw the experienced Dhoni, who top-scored with 71 in India's first innings 152 at Old Trafford, joking about his "horrible" batting technique. But no one could fault his resolve.

Under grey skies promising swing movement, England had to wait just four balls for their first wicket.

Anderson, who started this match seven wickets shy of Ian Botham's England record of 383 Test wickets, had opener Gautam Gambhir, trying to withdraw his bat, caught behind for a golden duck.

Broad, passed fit despite suffering a broken nose while batting in Manchester, then dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara (four) when the ball deflected onto his stumps via pad and arm.


Virat Kohli had arrived in England with a stellar reputation.

But his miserable series continued when, playing no stroke, he was lbw to first change Jordan for six. That meant the talented batsman had scored a mere 114 runs in nine innings this series at 12.66. Jordan then caught and bowled Ajinkya Rahane for the first duck of his Test career. Vijay survived for more than 90 minutes but he fell when edging Woakes to Joe Root at fourth slip.

At lunch, India were 43 for five, with Dhoni six not out.

That soon became 44 for six when recalled all-rounder Stuart Binny edged Anderson to Cook at first slip.

Wickets continued to fall as the floodlights pierced the gloom and India should have been out for under a hundred.

But after Sharma's reprieve, Dhoni slashed Jordan over the slip cordon for a four that took India to three figures and later drove him over extra-cover for six. Dhoni's defiant knock - which featured 66 runs in boundaries (15 fours and a six) - ended when the number six pulled Broad straight to Woakes at long leg.

England then got through to the close, although Cook had an escape, on nine, when Bhuvneshwar Kumar appealed for lbw against the left-hander.

Replays suggested Kumar had been unlucky but India's ongoing objection to the Decision Review System meant they could not challenge the not out verdict of umpire Paul Reiffel, the former Australia paceman.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia