LONDON, August 15, 2014 – India lost five wickets before lunch on the first day for the second time in as many matches as yet another batting collapse left England in charge of the fifth and final Test at The Oval on Friday. At lunch India were 43 for five as England, 2-1 up and looking to seal the series, carried on from where they left off in their innings and 54-run win in the fourth Test at Old Trafford last week.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was six not out and recalled all-rounder Stuart Binny four not out, with opener Murali Vijay (18) the only batsman to have made it into double figures so far this innings. First change Chris Jordan, who had been regarded by some pundits as a weak link in England’s attack, had lunch figures of two wickets for seven runs in six overs.
England captain Alastair Cook decided to probe India’s fragile top order after winning the toss on a green-tinged pitch in overcast conditions. And he was rewarded with a wicket off just the fourth ball of the day. James 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 by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
Stuart Broad, passed fit despite suffering a broken nose while batting in Manchester, then dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara (four) when the ball deflected off his pad onto his arm and then hit the stumps. Virat Kohli had arrived in England with a stellar reputation as one of the world’s best young batsmen.
But his miserable series continued when, playing no stroke, he was lbw to first change Chris Jordan for six. Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena took his time over the decision but Kohli had to go, with his latest exit leaving him with 114 runs in nine innings this series at a lowly average of 12.66, with his overall Test average dropping below 40 for the first time.
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 Chris Woakes, like Jordan, a seam-bowling all-rounder, to Joe Root at fourth slip. India were now 36 for five inside 19 overs, an even worse collapse than they suffered on the first day at Old Trafford where, after Dhoni won the toss, they were reduced to 62 for five inside 24 overs.