May 29, 2023
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In the test match India vs England, Alastair Cook was named the Man of the Match in his career’s final international outing. Also, On Day 5, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant hit centuries for India with Pant becoming the first Indian keeper to score a Test ton in England. But England beat India by 118 runs in the fifth Test and won the series by 4-1.

Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul both scored centuries on Day 5 of the Test match  but Alastair Cook playing his final international match still got his perfect farewell as England managed to bundle India out for 345.

Alastair Cook’s closest friend in the team, James Anderson, packed off Mohammad Shami to close out the 118-run victory and kicked-off the celebrations for the 4-1 series win. The smiles however were soon replaced by tears as players and fans bid farewell to Cook, who announced his decision to retire before the star of the the final match of the series.

It couldn’t have been a more emotional farewell for Alastair Cook as he led the team off the ground amidst a thunderous standing ovation from a knowledgeable Oval crowd.

However there were a couple of times when it looked that India could at least earn a respectable draw if not a win. Rahul batted in a cavalier fashion for the first time in the series as he added 118 runs with Ajinkya Rahane on a flat batting deck at the Oval.

Rahane indiscreet sweep shot followed by Hanuma Vihari’s dismissal saw India reduced to 121 for 5 before the complexion of the game changed once again.

Rahul was at his elegant best driving and cutting with a lot of ferocity including a slapped six over extra cover of Ben Stokes and four off the bowler to complete his fifth Test hundred.

However in the post-lunch session, it was young Pant, who made amends for his poor glovework with some exhilarating stroke play that included 15 boundaries and four huge sixes.

Such was Pant’s dominance that Rahul quietly dropped anchor letting Pant cut loose as he launched into England’s spin duo of Rashid and Moeen Ali. Pant muscled the ball through the gaps as England had attacking field set and forced them to get into a defensive mindset as they got free runs.

England captain Joe Root did have a few things to worry but he knew that one wicket would lead them into the tail. He delayed taking the second new ball which proved to be a master-stroke in the end as big leg-break found Rahul look back in a daze.

Possibly Pant felt the need to keep going and having been successful in clearing the ropes on four occasions, he wasn’t lucky the fifth time. But by then he had earned the love and respect of the spectators, who gave him a warm round of applause as he left the crease. The two knocks however would become a footnote in what turned out to be another humiliating English Summer for India where they lost both Test and ODI series.


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