Hanuma Vihari made his Test debut at the Oval and his selection in India’s playing XI ahead of Karun Nair raised a lot of eyebrows, but the debutant has silenced all the dissent by producing a gritty half-century in his first Test innings. And while doing so he has entered his name in the record books. Infact, the youngster now shares records with some of Indian cricket’s greatest batting stars.
Vihari arrived at the crease when India was tottering at 103 for 4 wickets down. Vihari’s first innings wouldn’t have come at a more challenging situation. He was welcomed to the crease by James Anderson who was at his peak and had just claimed two wickets and then, peppered with some nasty short-deliveries and there was a constant verbal banter going on.
Despite all this, Vihari stood tall and weathered the storm like an experienced campaigner and guided India to safety. In the meantime, he produced his fifty and was finally undone by a Moeen Ali special delivery that found his outside edge.
In his first Test innings, Vihari made a series of records. He became the 26h Indian to score a fifty on debut.
And more importantly, he is the only fourth Indian batsman to score a fifty on debut against England in England. The last time an Indian batsman achieved this feat was in 1996 when India’s two batting legends announced their arrival in international cricket. The god of offside Saurav Ganguly and The wall Rahul Dravid.
Vihari’s heroics with the bat coupled with Ravindra Jadeja’s brave and marvelous innings of 86 runs enabled India to reach to 292 runs, a score that looked a distant dream when Kohli had departed just a few minutes before the end of the second day. Vihari’s application and his grit to see off the new ball were commended by everyone.
Vihari was hailed on Twitter as well for his memorable batting.