Shreyas Iyer may have been in the firing line for throwing away his starts in the ongoing Test series against England but his superlative fielding effort that sent back England captain Ben Stokes on Day 4 of the second Test made heads turn. Iyer, who has been one of India’s top fielders in this series so far, pulled off a brilliant run out from nowhere in the final session on Monday to put the final nail in England’s coffin.
In the fourth ball of the 53rd over of England’s second innings, Ben Foakes got an inside edge from an R Ashwin delivery. There was a slight hesitation between Stokes and Foakes but even then it looked like an easy single. However, Iyer, standing at mid-wicket, had other ideas. He charged towards the ball, picked it up with one hand and gunned the stumps down. Stokes was guilty of jogging for the first half of the run, thinking the throw wouldn’t come at his end. That proved to be costly as he was found short of his crease.
It was a big moment in the game. Stokes was just getting his eyes in. With an able partner like Foakes at the other end and Tom Hartley yet to come, the England skipper could have caused a huge headache for India captain Rohit Sharma even though his side was the favourite to win the match.
The celebration in the Indian camp after watching ‘OUT’ load on the giant screen was enough to narrate the importance of the wicket. While all Indian fielders were running around screaming, cameras caught Shreyas Iyer with a different celebration. He had his index finger pointing upwards, signalling out. It was a clear reply to Stokes, who had done the same on Day 3 after taking a brilliant catch running backwards to end Iyer’s short but impressive innings.
However, hitting back at Stokes was not the first thing that came to Iyer’s mind. It was only when captain Rohit reminded him of the finger-pointing gesture that Iyer returned the favour to Stokes.
Stokes was asked about his run out in the post-match press conference and the England captain said it was not the first time he was out doing something “stupid”.
“I knew I had to go faster but for some reason, I just couldn’t, it was a really bizarre couple of seconds. You’d think by now at 32 I’d learn not to do that, it’s not the first time I’ve been run out doing something stupid. I always seem to do something that’s a talking point, good or bad, don’t I.”
Despite putting up a good fight in their second innings, England fell short of the mammoth 398-run target by 106 runs. Jasprit Bumrah (3/46) and Ravichandran Ashwin (3/72) were the stars with the ball for India while Zak Crawley top-scored for England with 73.
The five-match series is locked 1-1. The third Test begins on February 15 in Rajkot.