Cricket: Kohli plays anchor as India draw first England Test

RAJKOT: Skipper Virat Kohli hit an unbeaten 49 under pressure before India pulled off a tense draw on the final day of the first Test against England in Rajkot  on Sunday.

The tourists had declared their second innings at 260-3  shortly after lunch, leaving the home side to chase 310 runs off  a minimum 49 overs on the fifth and last day.

But the Indians were soon fighting for survival after losing wickets in a clutch on a wearing track at the Saurashtra Cricket Association ground, hosting its first Test ever.

The Indians finished on 172-6 with local hero Ravindra Jadeja also remaining not out on 32.

England had India in early trouble at 71-4 but Kohli steadied the ship with a 47-run partnership that he shared  with Ravichandran Ashwin (32).

Adil Rashid was the pick of the bowlers with 3-64 while his spin partners Moeen Ali and Zafar Ansari took one wicket apiece.

India’s second innings began on a shaky note, with opener Gautam Gambhir falling to paceman Chris Woakes for a duck.

Leg-spinner Rashid then got going, getting rid of Cheteshwar Pujara (18) who was trapped leg before wicket and Murali Vijay for 31.

Both Pujara and Vijay had hit centuries in India’s first innings total of 488 in reply to England’s 537.

Ali shattered the stumps of Ajinkya Rahane (one) and Ansari sent back Ashwin, who had proved to be a thorn in England’s side the last time they toured India.

Kohli held his ground amid the mayhem, hitting six fours in  his crucial 98-ball knock.

England would take a lot of heart from their performance since they came into the series on the back of a first-ever Test defeat to minnows Bangladesh.

Before this game, India had won 12 and drawn one of their last 13 Tests since England’s historic 2-1 triumph in 2012.

The two teams now head to Visakhapatnam for the second Test of the marathon five-match series starting on Thursday.

The other Tests will be played in Mohali, Mumbai and Chennai. -AFP