Counter-attacking centuries from India’s Rishabh Pant and Lokesh Rahul defied England on day five of the fifth and final Test at The Oval in London on Tuesday.
Rahul’s unbeaten 142 and 101, respectively, carried the Indians to 298 for five at the tea break.
The ton was the 10th of the right-handed Rahul’s burgeoning Test career – and second against the English. The first came at Lord’s in 2014.
Pant welcomed a maiden Test ton by hoisting leg-spinner Adil Rashid over mid-wicket for six.
The hosts only managed to remove middle-order duo Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari during the first and second sessions, but can rest relatively easily with a hefty 166-run second-innings lead.
Rahane and Vihari fell to spinner Moeen Ali and seamer Ben Stokes, respectively. Fast bowler James Anderson, meanwhile, is still level with Australian Glenn McGrath’s tally of 563 Test wickets. One more and Anderson will be the leading wicket-taker, among seamers, in the longest format of the international game.
Monday saw English batsman Alastair Cook, who will retire from international cricket at the end of this series, become the fifth-highest run-scorer in Test cricket.
Cook surpassed Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara’s 12,400 runs to join Indians Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, Australian Ricky Ponting and South African Jacques Kallis in the elite quintet.
England boast an unassailable 3-1 series lead after victories at Lord’s, Edgbaston and Southampton – and defeat at Trent Bridge.