Rajkot, India (AP) — India survived a jittery final session Sunday, reaching 172-6 in 52.3 overs on the fifth day, to secure a draw in the first test against England. The visitors earlier set a target of 310 runs.
Virat Kohli was unbeaten on 49, while Ravindra Jadeja was not out on 32 at stumps. It was Kohli’s highest score in 19 innings against England since scoring 103 in Nagpur in 2012.
The Indian skipper was happy to have escaped with a draw.
“Since day three, the ball did quite a bit for the spinners in the final session. But there were no demons as such in the pitch. It looked so because we had lost 4-5 wickets, but it wasn’t the case. This situation was an opportunity for us to improve our game. We learnt how to draw a match,” said Kohli.
After tea, Murali Vijay (31) and Kohli added 21 runs for the third wicket. Then, Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane (1) fell in successive overs.
Vijay was caught at short leg off Adil Rashid (3-64) in the 23rd over, while Moeen Ali (1-47) bowled Rahane in the 24th over, leaving India at 71-4.
Kohli then added 47 runs for the fifth wicket with Ravichandran Ashwin (32).
England changed up their bowlers as the last hour of play began, a move that paid dividends when Zafar Ansari (1-41) removed Ashwin, caught by Joe Root at extra cover.
Wriddhiman Saha (9) returned a catch to Rashid in the 43rd over as India struggled toward the finish line.
But Kohli and Jadeja then added 40 runs for the sixth wicket, batting for 31 minutes across 10 overs to help the home side earn a tough draw.
Earlier, England declared their second innings at 260-3 with Alastair Cook (130) scoring his 30th test hundred.
“I thought it was a fair declaration. Maybe we could have declared a bit earlier, but obviously we didn’t want to give India a sniff. A braver person might have declared on 240, but on the same pitch we were 180-0,” said Cook after the day’s play.
He had reached his hundred off 194 balls, inclusive of ten fours. It was his fifth test hundred in India, the most by a visiting batsman here. He went past Sir Everton Weekes, Clive Lloyd and Hashim Amla, who all have four hundreds in India.
Cook put on 180 runs for the first wicket with Haseeb Hameed (82), as they notched up the highest opening stand by an English pair in India. They went past the 178 runs by Graeme Fowler and Tim Robinson in Chennai in 1985.
Hameed also scored the highest individual score for an English teenager in test cricket, going past 74 runs by Jack Crawford against South Africa in 1906.
England lost Hameed, Joe Root (4) and Cook on either side of the lunch break as they looked to accelerate for a declaration. Ben Stokes was unbeaten on 29.
The English skipper was pleased with his team’s efforts after the 1-1 series draw in Bangladesh.
“We showed more character than in Dhaka. These were a good, hard five days. We played some good cricket. The spinners bowled well, and the seamers were outstanding. It was a good toss to win and we did well to get 500 on the board. We were in a position to push for a result in the last session, but we just couldn’t get over the line,” said Cook.
Meanwhile, Kohli was unimpressed with the pitch, after his spinners finished second-best to their English counterparts. Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Jadeja finished with nine wickets in total, with Ali, Rashid and Zansari returning 13.
“I was surprised by the grass on the pitch. There shouldn’t have been so much grass on it. But I don’t think their spinners outbowled our spinners. It wasn’t as if they took five-wicket hauls. If they had outbowled our spinners, they would have won the game,” Kohli added.
The second test begins in Visakhapatnam on Nov. 17.