England registered a comprehensive 118-run victory over India in the fifth and final Test at The Oval on Tuesday (September 11). Having sealed the series in Southampton, England eventually clinched it by a handsome margin of 4-1.
Chasing the colossal target of 464, India were bundled out for 345 despite defiant centuries from KL Rahul (147) and Rishabh Pant (114) on the final day. James Anderson took the wicket of Mohammad Shami to seal the deal for the hosts. Shami’s scalp also took Anderson past Glenn McGrath as the most prolific fast bowler in the history of Test cricket. Anderson now boasts 564 Test wickets to his name and is slotted at No.4 in the all-time list of highest wicket-takers.
The Oval Test was also a fairytale ending for Alastair Cook, who registered the scores of 71 and 147 across two innings and bid goodbye to his England international career on a high.
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, England skipper Joe Root paid tributes to Cook and Anderson.
"I mean Alastair has been such an exceptional player for such a long time. He has been a huge part of our dressing room, the way he goes about things and the way he sets up standards. I thought the reception he has had over this Test has been fitting," Root quoted.
"I'm sure there is more to come from Jimmy. The scary thing is that you feel he still has a couple of years left. In my opinion, he is the best he has ever been," he added.
Chasing the improbable target of 464 in the fourth innings, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant gave India a glimmer of hope by sharing a 204-run stand for the sixth wicket. Talking about Rahul and Pant’s partnership, Root admitted that there were a few nerves heading into the final session.
"Very gratifying. It has been a very tough series. India have played some exceptional cricket. And it has been some special stuff from our guys as well. Everyone watching would have been thrilled as well. It shows Test cricket is still in a good place," Root remarked.
"There were a few nerves. India batted really well to get into that position in the final session. So, credit to India for batting well and to our lads for performing in the manner like we did in the end," he further said.
Despite the convincing series win, Root was not ready to take things easily as he feels that England are still growing as a team.
"We are growing all the time as a team. We have got some good experienced players who have done well. Some young guys have stood up and performed. We have a lot of learning to do to reach where we want to," he concluded.