After a below-par performance in the first two sessions of the fifth and final Test against England at The Oval, India bounced back strongly in the final session, reducing the hosts to 198 for seven. Pacers provided crucial breakthroughs in the final session of the day to give India control of the game. Spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who is playing his first match of the Test series, also played an equally important role, claiming two wickets. Jadeja, who in the past was an integral part of the India ODI set up, lost his limited-over place after some brilliant performances by wrist spinning duo Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. After his handy performance, the Indian all-rounder opened up on his stint on the sidelines, saying that playing only Test cricket is not good enough for him to be in the best of shape for international cricket. Jadeja said that he is determined to represent India in all three formats.
"For me the biggest thing is that I am playing for India and maybe some day if I do well, I will be back playing all three formats of the game soon enough. But my aim is to convert any opportunity I get into performance," he said after stumps on day one.
"When you are playing just one format it is very tough because there is too much gap between matches and the experience (rhythm) you need to play at international level is less. So you have to keep motivating yourself – whenever I get a chance, like in this game, whatever ability I have, I have to give my best on the field."
He outlined playing the holding role as lone spinner, whilst also admitted his aim to fulfil the all-rounder spot for India.
"Whenever I get an opportunity to play for India, I will give my best in both aspects – batting and bowling. I want to become a trusted member of the team and I can fulfil the all-rounder slot well because I have done it before in the past. It isn't anything new to me. It is a matter of time.
"When you are going through a bad patch, you need to play more and more to regain your old form and touch. So it is possible the more I play international cricket, the better I will perform and will be able to make a comeback in all three formats," said the 29-year-old.
India did well to reduce England to 198 for seven by close of play considering the hosts were 133 for one in the 64th over. Jadeja said that the bowling attack worked together to a plan of cutting down boundaries and frustrating the English batsmen. Jadeja took a couple while Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah shared the other five wickets as India's bowling proved miserly throughout the day.
"Everyone bowled well, especially when the partnership between Moeen Ali and Alastair Cook was on, our plan was to stop the boundaries. Our plan was that if they didn't get boundaries, they'd panic and play wrong shots and get out. And that's exactly what happened.
"From there we got six wickets for 50 or so. As a bowling department, that is our idea – not to concede runs. If there's a partnership, we will bowl in good areas. In England, if one wicket falls, you get two or three in a cluster. And that's what happened," he said.
Mohammed Shami was unlucky as he beat the batsmen on numerous occasions, but failed to induce an edge. "Shami bowled well. He was unlucky that he beat the bat so many times. He's bowling with good rhythm; he is generating good pace too. Shami, Bumrah and Ishant - all of them did well,” said Jadeja.
England made their best start of the series on a pitch that proved to be more batsmen friendly than others earlier, with the first wickets putting on 133 runs. Thereafter the hosts collapsed in the final session, conceding six wickets for 65 runs. "This is a good wicket for batting. There's nothing much in it. As the game progresses, the pitch will get slower. It's looking slightly dry. But our three fast bowlers bowled really well.
"It's difficult when you're not getting any help from the wicket on day one. The ball you're actually trying to bowl...it's not coming out that way. I was just thinking that Shami, Ishant and Bumrah were bowling well from the other end. They were beating the bat non-stop.
"I was just thinking that I shouldn't concede boundaries, because if that pressure is released at one end, it becomes easy for the batsmen. We didn't get any wickets in the second session but we didn't concede many runs either. We came back well. Everyone did their jobs in the bowling department," Jadeja said.
(With PTI Inputs)