Ravindra Jadeja’s unexpected and gritty 86 brought India back with a fighting chance on Sunday afternoon. However, it wasn’t just Jadeja who became a beacon of hope for India; debutant Hanuma Vihari with his score of 56 over two sessions, gave India some hope. This became all the more significant in light of the fact that captain Kohli was unable to make a significant impact with the bat.
Vihari’s start was unusually lucky. He was leg before off Stuart Broad but Broad decided not to ask for DRS. 4 balls later, he was given leg before by the umpire but was given a new lease of life by third umpire Bruce Oxenford who decided in Vihari’s favor. Despite the harsh bowling by English pacers, the gritty Andhra boy survived. Vihari bats down from the gully area and this makes him susceptible to in-swing.
He does not have the greatest technique but has the will to survive, which is exactly what India needed. The sun was out and the heavy rollers were used, which made the English bowlers work hard. Though his feet movement was not the best, he played close to the body and left a lot outside off-stump.
His patience may have been a result of him not being part of any IPL franchise in the last 2 seasons. Vihari featured in the Sunrisers Hyderabad side in 2013 and2015, but he was probably not selected after that because of his defensive mindset. He has a First –Class average of 59.79 but has often been overlooked. However, he proved to the world the true value of patience in Tests and gave India a fighting chance this late into the series. It is now up to the management of team India to give him more chances to develop as a good batsman down the order.