Photo credit: Rahul Sharma/Twitter

It took a stunning ball to send Lokesh Rahul back to the dressing room.

Set a colossal target of 464 by England in the final Test match at the Oval, the Kings XI Punjab batsman had remained planted, unfazed even after the score stood at a paltry two runs with three wickets down.

The Men in Blue had ended the fourth day at 58/3, Rahul contributing 79 percent of those runs by scoring at a brisk pace and taking the attack to the opposition. That steamrolled into the final day as well.

First, he put on a 118-run partnership with Ajinkya Rahane for the fourth wicket and then found an able ally to give India a sniff of a very unlikely victory. With Rishabh Pant, he stitched a stand of 204 runs for the sixth wicket in just 267 balls that featured a plethora of white-ball shots from both ends.

With 20 fours and one maximum, Rahul scored his fifth century in Test cricket, his fourth overseas, and became only the second opener after Alastair Cook to get to score a ton in the five-match series.

His 149 was scored at a healthy strike rate of 66.51, smashing every single English bowler on the fifth day till that ominous delivery by Adil Rashid, which spun violently from the rough well outside leg to bowl Rahul, got the better off him.

After Rahul’s departure, India’s tail could only add 20 more runs before being bundled out as the visitors suffered a heavy defeat of 118 runs.