LONDON: Hanuma Vihari marked his Test debut with a fifty as India kept England’s James Anderson waiting for a landmark wicket at the Oval on Sunday.
India were 240 for seven in reply to England’s first innings 332, a deficit of 92 runs, at lunch on the third day of the fifth Test.
Vihari fell shortly before the interval for 56 as India, who had already lost the five-match series at 3-1 down, tried to salvage a consolation win.
But Ravindra Jadeja, playing his first match of the series, was 41 not out.
England spearhead Anderson went wicketless in the session and that meant he still needed two more wickets to equal Australia great Glenn McGrath’s record of 563 Test wickets — the most taken by any fast bowler.
But before play started on Sunday, the International Cricket Council announced that Anderson, who had overnight figures of two for 20, had been fined 15 percent of his match for “speaking in an aggressive manner” to Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena on Saturday after an lbw review against India captain Virat Kohli went the way of the star batsman.
Kohli eventually fell to Ben Stokes for 49, strengthening an England grip on the game established earlier in the day by Jos Buttler making 89 on his 28th birthday.
India resumed in trouble at 174 for six, with Vihari 25 not out and Jadeja unbeaten on eight.
The veteran England new-ball duo of Stuart Broad and Anderson were straight into the attack on an overcast Sunday morning.
But Vihari cover-drove Broad for four while Jadeja edged Anderson for another boundary.
With both batsmen playing and missing against the quicks, England captain Joe Root brought on leg-spinner Adil Rashid for the first time in the match in the 64th over.
But Vihari, who came through a couple of close lbw incidents involving Broad when on nought in a shaky start to his innings, looked increasingly assured.
A ball changed at England’s request brought no more luck for the hosts with Vihari hitting all-rounder Stokes, whom he had hooked for six on Saturday, through point for four.
The 24-year-old then completed an admirable fifty in his first Test innings in good time, facing just 104 balls including six fours and a six.
Stokes thought he had Jadeja caught behind for 28 but Dharmasena said not out and an England review confirmed the umpire had made yet another good decision this match.
But a stand of 77 finished when off-spinner Moeen Ali, whose hat-trick ended last year’s Oval Test against South Africa, drew Vihari forward, with wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow holding a thin edge.
An India review did not produce enough evidence for Dharmasena’s decision to be overturned, with the tourists now 237 for seven.