Ravindra Jadeja saved India by rescuing the team from a dismal position and guided the team to a respectable total on day three of the final Test of the five-match series against England. In reply to the home team’s first innings total of 332 at The Oval, the Indian team had slipped to 160 for 6 when Ravindra Jadeja walked out to bat at number eight. The left hander remained unbeaten on 86 after stitching together useful partnerships with debutant Hanuma Vihari and Jasprit Bumrah before Team India were bowled out for 292.
Playing his first Test match on the tour, the 29-year old left-arm spinner would be India’s most successful bowler, returning with figures of 4-79. By his all rounder performance, Jadeja makes it to an elite list of Indian all-rounders who have scored 75 runs or more and picked up 4 wickets in an innings in a Test match in England. Prior to this Oval Test, only two Indian all rounders Vinoo Mankad in 1952 and Kapil Dev in 1982 had done the innings double of scoring 75 runs or more and taking 4 or more wickets in England.
This performance from Jadeja is in many ways ironic. The Indian team has yearning for a seam-bowling all-rounder for several years now, and in the months leading to this series, they had expected the search had ended with Hardik Pandya. After playing four Test matches and making few substantial contributions with bat and ball, Hardik Pandya was benched, and Jadeja was given a go in the final Test match.
And the left-hander has delivered in some style too. He was India’s best bowler in England’s first innings, was top scorer with the bat in India’s first innings, and has already opened his account with the ball in England’s second innings.