Fifth Test: England take mammoth 404-run lead vs India (Tea report)

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London, Sep 10 (IANS) Riding on centuries by Alastair Cook and skipper Joe Root, England took a massive 404-run lead against India in the fifth and final Test of the series at the Oval here on Monday.

After remaining wicketless in the morning session of the fourth day, the visitors finally got a bit respite as debutant Hanuma Vihari struck twice in consecutive deliveries to dismiss Cook (147) and Root (125) leaving the hosts at 321/4.

The English duo however, helped their side have a firm grip on the match before being dismissed. Cook and Root were involved in a 259-run partnership for the third wicket.

Meanwhile Cook, featuring in his last Test, smashed many records enroute to his 286-ball knock, laced with 14 boundaries.

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The 33-year-old England opener on Monday became the fifth batsman in the history of the game to hit a ton both on debut and final game as Cook had also smashed a century in the second innings of his maiden Test, against India, in Nagpur in 2006.

The England opener also became the highest Test run-scorer among the left-handed batsmen as he went past Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara (12400), adding another achievement to his illustrious Test career with 12472 runs.

Resuming the post-lunch session at 243/2, Cook and Root took England past the 300-run mark before being dismissed on successive deliveries in the 95th over.

Incoming batsmen Jonny Bairstow (18) fell cheaply as a Mohammed Shami delivery took an inside edge and went on to hit the stumps.

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Bairstow was followed by Jos Buttler, who departed without contributing. While looking for some quick runs, Buttler went down the track but offered a thick edge to Shami at backward point.

Ben Stokes and Sam Curran were unbeaten on 13 and 7 runs respectively at the time of tea-break.

Brief scores: England 332 and 364/6 (Alastair Cook 147, Joe Root 125; MoHanuma Vihari 2/24) vs India 292 at Tea on Day 4.

–IANS

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