Yet again it was Joe Root who stood in India's path on the second day of the fifth Test at The Oval. His 92 not out thwarted India's plans of ending the England innings after a mini-collapse threatened to do just that. Cook came out to bat when England were 204/4 having lost 3 wickets for 13 runs. After Moeen Ali fell to Ravichandran Ashwin Root added 80 with Jos Buttler an unbroken stand of 67 with Chris Jordan to extend England's lead to 237 with three days left to play. In doing so, he found himself eight short of a ton at stumps and yet again India had no answer to the blade of Root. Â (Day 2 ReportÂ |Â ScorecardÂ |Â Highlights)
It was his 8th Test fifty and fifth against India. At the moment, Root has 461 runs in the series with an average of 92.20. He has one hundred and four fifties which is his best performance in a Test series. His average at home is 62, far better than his overseas one of 28.69. This is the first time he has hit three consecutive fifties in Test cricket. Root is the fourth English player to register a score in excess of fifty in all matches of five-Test rubber, his scores being 154* at Trent Bridge, 13 & 66 at Lord's, 3 & 56 at Southampton, 77 at Manchester and 92* at The Oval. He finds himself in esteemed company with the likes of Wally Hammond (vs South Africa in 1938-39), Peter May (vs South Africa in 1955) and Robin Smith (vs Australia in 1989).
Here are some other major highlights from the Day 2:
# Gary Ballance (64 off 117 balls) has recorded his third Test fifty - his second against India. He is the top run-getter for England in Tests this year - his aggregate is 729 (ave 60.75), including three centuries and three fifties, in 13 innings. He became the first batsman to manage 500 runs in the series - his tally being 503 (ave 71.85) in five Tests. (Ballance Hails Root and Buttler)
# Ballance became the second left-handed batsman to manage 500 runs in a Test series for England against India. Alastair Cook had totalled 562 (ave 80.28) in four Tests in India in 2012-13, including three hundreds.
# Alastair Cook (79 off 183 balls) has posted his 38th Test fifty - his seventh against India. He has recorded seven hundreds and nine fifties as captain.
# Against India, Cook, as captain, has posted six fifty-plus innings in 15 innings against India - the most by an England captain against India, eclipsing Graham Gooch's five in 10 innings.
# Cook has managed 1735 runs at an average of 54.21 in 20 Tests against India, setting a record for the highest run-aggregate for England against India, surpassing Graham Gooch's tally of 1725 (ave 55.64) in 19 Tests.
# Sam Robson and Alastair Cook put on a 66-run stand -England's highest opening partnership in Tests this year, bettering the 53 by the same pair at Southampton.
# Cook and Ballance were involved in a 125-run partnership - England's second highest for the second wicket vs India at The Oval, behind the 174 between Michael Vaughan and Mark Butcher in 2002.
# Since producing two for 73 vs Australia at Adelaide in January 2012, Ravichandran Ashwin has claimed wickets in an away Test for the first time. In his previous two overseas Tests at Johannesburg, December 2013 and Old Trafford, August 2014), he could not bag a wicket.
# Ishant Sharma has captured Ian Bell's wicket seven times in Tests. The players dismissed by him most times in Tests are Cook (eight), Michael Clarke (seven), Ricky Ponting (seven) and Bell (seven).
(Inputs from Rajesh Kumar)