The fifth Test between England and India has started off with Team India bowlers on top as England were left reeling at 198/7 at the end of the first day.
India has made two changes in their playing XI, giving a debut to Hanuma Vihari and replacing R Ashwin with Ravindra Jadeja. Ashwin was not in his elements in the previous Test match on a pitch that offered spin.
At the toss, Virat Kohli admitted that Ashwin was played in that Test match at Southampton despite being injured and it had aggravated his injury and hence he was left out of the fifth Test at the Oval.
However, his admission of Ashwin playing the 4th Test injured contradicts his vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane’s statement after head coach Ravi Shastri had deemed him fit. "I don't think there is a fitness issue there in Ashwin's case," Rahane had said after Shastri announced the offie was "fit".
Even former England Captain Mike Brearley was surprised how Ashwin was handled in the 4th Test match. He said, "He didn't look fit enough. And I was surprised that he bowled for so long at a stretch. Virat Kohli should have changed ends, tried to bowl others instead of giving him such a long spell from one end. Kohli's handling of Ashwin wasn't the best."
(inputs from TOI)