We pick out five of the best moments from a thrilling Test series in England
With the Test series done and dusted, there was been no shortage of drama over the last six weeks as England triumphed 4-1 against India. There have been some exceptional individual displays, moments of brilliance and milestone moments – not to mention the retirement of a true cricketing legend.
Here we look at the five moments that had people talking during the five-match series.
Ben Stokes’ does a ‘Freddie Flintoff’ on final day of Edgbaston Test
The opening Test was evenly poised going into the final day in Birmingham. A total of 194 was the target for India, who resumed 110-5. They had strong hope too given that Virat Kohli was still at the crease. But England and in particular Ben Stokes, had other ideas as the all-rounder rattled the Indian batting order to wrap up a 31-run victory. Bowling with aggression and intelligence, Stokes took the prized scalp of Kohli and then Mohammed Shami. He clinched victory when Hardik Pandya was caught at slip to finish with 4-40 and roll back memories of Freddie Flintoff’s performance in the 2005 Ashes Test.
Virat Kohli lets his bat do the talking
Before a ball was even bowled, the question was whether Virat Kohli would be able to score big runs given his poor record in the 2014 series. Back then over the five-match series, he averaged just under 14. But it was a different story this time round. In fact, he could not have asked for a better start. At Edgbaston, he made England pay for dropped catches to score 149 in his first innings before a half-century in his next. The 29-year-old went on to score another hundred and two more fifties to end the series as the top run-scorer (593) and send out another reminder why he’s the best Test batsman.
Sam Curran rises to the occasion with the bat and ball
There were a few question marks on the inclusion of the 20-year-old but come the end of the series and the all-rounder has well and truly silenced the doubters. In the first Test, Curran took four wickets in the first innings to put England in control before his maiden half-century (63) pretty much was the decisive factor in taking a 1-0 lead. When he was recalled for the Southampton Test after being dropped for Ben Stokes in the third match, Curran picked up where he left off taking two wickets and more importantly his highest Test score of 78 to frustrate the Indians. Although he didn’t play the full five-match series, the future is bright for the Surrey youngster.
The end of an innings for Alastair Cook
All the build-up to the fifth and final Test was about one man – Alastair Cook. The 33-year-old announced his retirement decision just after the Test series was won in Southampton and the focus turned whether England’s best opening batsmen would be able to score a century on his farewell. It didn’t exactly happen in his first innings, falling 29 runs short but there was no mistake next time he took to the field to score 147 and his 33rd Test century. The way England celebrated in the dressing room, India’s guard of honour and the standing ovation of the crowd, told you everything how respected he was within the game.
Jimmy Anderson sets the record straight
When Jimmy Anderson took the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan inside the first two overs on the penultimate day of the Oval Test, it looked like it was only a matter of time before he would break Glenn McGrath’s tally for most Test wickets for a seamer. No matter how hard he tried, he was unable to get that historic wicket until an hour before the end of play on Tuesday when he rattled the stumps of Mohammad Shami to claim his 564th Test scalp. His effort wrapped up the 118-run victory and he later confessed he was thrilled to set a new mark when ‘best mate’ Cook was on the field. At 36, he’s showing no signs of slowing down as evident by his 24 wickets in the series.