From an England advantage to a dramatic India win, we take a look at the cricketing highlights during the recent series at the Kia Oval
Writer: Marcus Kääpä
Of the many well-known cricketing venues across the globe, the Kia Oval stands amongst them as a unique international cricket ground based in Kennington, London, and has been the home of Surrey Country Cricket Club since 1845. The Kia Oval grounds have hosted many famous final days spanning its impressive 141 years of Test cricket, and every international star to have played the game has represented their nation under the famous and iconic nearby gasholder structures that neighbour the grounds.
Each year, the Kia Oval hosts an England Test match as well as a white-ball international, and with matches having recently ended we can look back on the highlights that made this year’s event.
Kia Oval – England vs India
Recently, the Kia Oval welcomed two giants of Test cricket – England and India. Some of the world’s greatest players battled it out at the historic venue; the location of the first ever Test match in England, in a series that saw the likes of Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad take on Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Ravi Ashwin, to the victory of India.
Joe Root, captain of the England team, stated in the aftermath that they “were not ruthless enough”, following a dramatic defeat by the visiting team. England had a promising start during their second innings but were out for 210 in the fourth Test and lost the match by 157 runs.
The climactic India performance saw the team win despite being 127-7 at one stage on day one, finally conceding a first-innings deficit of 99, then establishing a lead of 213 with just four wickets in hand on the fourth day. England had spoken of the possibility of undertaking their highest successful chase in Test cricket, yet even on a pitch that was advantageous for batting, a draw would have been deemed creditable.
England were overwhelmed when Virat Kohli, India’s captain, sensed victory while being backed by increasingly ecstatic support from the sold-out crowd. England, and their captain Joe Root, had well and truly lost the initiative after winning the toss and deciding to bat first on a flattish Oval pitch.
On the other side it proved to be India’s time to shine. The visiting team led the series even though they omitted notable off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin throughout. At 131-2, England needed just one more good session to wing the momentum back in their favour as they lost six wickets for 62 runs. Of India’s performance Jasprit Bumrah was a centrepiece.
Bumrah’s reverse-swing with the old ball at pace exposed Ollie Pope’s defensive push, followed by another; an inswinging yorker that Jonny Bairstow could not contend with. Pope’s wicket represented Bumrah’s 100th in this, his 24th international match, and as a result makes him the fastest India seamer to reach such an achievement.
Joe Root followed up saying that: “We should have got something out of this Test match, but it was a brilliant spell of bowling by Bumrah that really turned the game. You’ve got to be realistic about things and understand that it was world-class bowling.”
India’s Virat Kohli stated regarding Bumrah: “We knew our bowlers can be lethal with reverse swing. It was an unbelievable spell. It was a huge effort in the last innings of the Test match. As soon as it started reversing Jasprit just said, ‘give me the ball’, and he changed the game.”
Even though England managed to make a few runs early on they came up short when it came to innings of the fourth contest in the series. Bumrah’s spell of bowling, among other feats from India, spelt the downfall of England in the series.
Looking further ahead, 2022 is set to be an exciting summer with action at the Kia Oval including both India and South Africa set to make an appearance.