Joe Root will want to play India in every single Test match of his career. The diminutive right-hander continued along his merry way again, smashing a wonderfully crafted unbeaten 92 to give England a massive 237-run lead and with it as good as end India's hopes of levelling the series by picking up a victory in this fifth and final Test match at the Oval.
Day one belonged completely to England, and day two, despite a couple of spurts of hope for India, was all about the hosts again as they piled on the runs, finishing on 385 for seven, with Root (92 n.o., 129b, 9x4, 1x6) batting with Chris Jordan (19 n.o., 25b, 2x4).
With the way India have batted in the last three Test matches, there only looks like being one result in this Test match, and England will be smelling another dominating Test match victory and with it a 3-1 series win.
England had a great first session, losing just one wicket, the early one of Sam Robson, before levelling the first innings score at 148 with nine wickets in hand as Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance, having the summer of his life, enjoyed another big partnership.
Ballance came into the crease in just the second over of the day, after Robson (37, 70b, 6x4) failed to get his bat down in time to a Varun Aaron delivery. Aaron (25-1-111-2) yet again showed his prowess with the ball, bowling with plenty of pace, with the only thing perhaps missing from his armoury being experience and that nous to consistently take Test match wickets – that, of course, can be said of every single India bowler.
Cook was lucky to survive on day one, with umpire Paul Reiffel not giving a dead-on lbw decision, and the left-hander had plenty of reprieves again, albeit towards the end of his 79-run knock, which saw him face 183 deliveries with nine boundaries.
Ballance and Cook put on 125 runs together for the second wicket, while taking England to 148 for one at Lunch, before India fought back in the second session.
Cook, dropped on 65 and 70, was picked up by Aaron, with Murali Vijay finally hanging onto a catch in the slips. India's fightback continued as Ballance (64, 117b, 13x4), looking as serene and untroubled as ever, decided to give a bit of catching practice to Cheteshwar Pujara, by defending an R Ashwin delivery straight to silly point.
In the next over, India had another wicket as Ian Bell fell prey to Ishant Sharma (24-8-58-2) after finding the outside edge through to MS Dhoni. And India made it four wickets in the post-Lunch session as Moeen Ali's indecision on whether to leave or play the ball led to him playing the ball onto his off stump off the bowling of Ashwin (20-2-55-2).
Jos Buttler came in and belted a few boundaries immediately as the wicketkeeper/batsman set about building a morale-sapping, from India's point of view, partnership with golden boy Joe Root. The duo put on 80 runs together, to give England back the momentum, before a couple of quickfire wickets, that of Buttler (45, 73b, 9x4) and Chris Woakes, pegged them back again.
However, with the score at 318 for seven at that point, England already had a sizeable lead, and it only got worse for India as Root decided to catch fire, with Chris Jordan giving the right-hander good company at the other end.
The 67-run partnership broke India's back and whittled away even the remotest chances of the away team forcing a positive result.