A closer look at Hanuma Vihari's maiden Test innings of 56 at the Oval
The visitors were in big trouble of bother at the end of the day two after being reduced to 160-6 but showed tremendous fight in the opening session on Sunday in which only one wicket fell.
At the forefront of the fightback was Vihari with the 24-year-old scoring 56 runs in his maiden innings in Test cricket. Here, we take a closer look at the debutant’s performance.
BALLS FACED: 124
It was an eventful maiden innings for Vihari who arrived at the crease on Saturday in treacherous conditions with India under pressure. He survived a leg-before appeal which should have been given out before overturning another leg-before decision with the help of review. Surviving some anxious moments on both days along with numerous close calls, Vihari brought up a hard-fought half-century with the help of some streaky boundaries combined with composed batting. After negotiating a hostile spell from James Anderson and Stuart Broad on day three, the batsman perished to the off-spin of Moeen Ali.
While he lived dangerously at times during his stay at the crease, Vihari’s determination and focus cannot be faulted. He came in to bat when England’s pacers had their tails up with the ball moving prodigiously off the deck but remain composed despite playing and missing umpteen times with edges flying wide off the slip fielders or just short of them. What worked in his favour was that he always looked to play with soft hands. Having survived the difficult period, Vihari profited when the bowlers erred in their lengths and a maiden Test fifty on debut was just reward for his endevours.
Vihari displayed good composure for most part, nerves were clear to see in his batting especially on day two. After being constantly beaten by the swing of Anderson and Broad, Vihari fell into the trap of taking on the short ball against Ben Stokes. He miscued two pull shots in the same over but luckily for him the ball sailed to the boundary on both occasions. Will need to control that rush of blood but that should come with more experience.
VERDICT – 7/10
After being tested by Anderson and Co, Vihari ultimately survived the challenge with his reputation enhanced greatly. He had his fair share of luck during his 124-ball stay but stuck around despite being made to look as an amateur at times with the seam-movement on offer at The Oval. His 77-run stand for the sixth wicket along with Ravindra Jadeja kept India’s chances alive in the final Test. His selection was questioned by many at the start of the Test but Vihari’s maiden innings has ensured that those calls will dissipate for the time being.