Jos Buttler shines again
Yet another rescue attempt by Jos Buttler worked.
Virat Kohli's latest attempt didn't.
England's fast bowlers backed up an inspired innings from Buttler by reducing Kohli's India to 174-6 and grabbing command of the fifth Test on day two at the Oval yesterday.
Stuart Broad and Sam Curran removed India's openers, then James Anderson and Ben Stokes tore through the middle order with two wickets each. India captain Kohli, the leading batsman in the series, was taken out by Stokes for 49 near stumps.
England's lead of 158 was largely thanks to the series' second leading runscorer, Buttler, who struck 89 to guide his side to 332 from an overnight total of 198-7.
Buttler, who returned to the Test side only in May after 18 months, picked up from where he left off in Southampton a week ago when scoring a crucial 69 to help England establish an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
"I've found a nice balance and a good mentality about the game," Buttler said. "I've got a good perspective and been practising really well.
"I've been really pleased with how it's gone so far since coming back."
Supported by tail-enders Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad, Buttler made his third half-century in his last four Test innings to take England to a total that far exceeded its own expectations at the start of the day.
Kohli appeared to be expecting a trademark Buttler onslaught, but the England batsman instead chose to take advantage of a defensively set field and score mainly through singles early on.
It was Rashid, who reached 15 before being given out leg before wicket off Jasprit Bumrah, and then Broad, who took on the role of aggressor.
Broad provided a reminder of his shot-making ability with some fine front-foot shots, before Buttler somewhat inevitably went on the attack himself to bring up his half-century from 84 balls.