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Jadeja took the only wicket to fall in the morning after England chose to bat, having opener Keaton Jennings caught in the leg trap. His quick thinking also brought about the downfall of Ben Stokes, leg before. He bowled 24 overs, taking 2/57, playing his first game of the tour.

Ravindra Jadeja goes about his game with a nonchalance it can appear he is forever playing a supporting role. And that could be a reason why it didn’t seem major when he was benched as India chose seam-bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya and R Ashwin as the lone spinner overseas.

On Friday, in the final Test against England at the Oval, Jadeja underlined his value in the absence of the injured Ashwin with Pandya dropped. He held one end up beautifully on a first-day pitch to allow India’s pace trio Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami to reduce England to 198/7 with a sensational post-tea effort.

Jadeja took the only wicket to fall in the morning after England chose to bat, having opener Keaton Jennings caught in the leg trap. His quick thinking also brought about the downfall of Ben Stokes, leg before. He bowled 24 overs, taking 2/57, playing his first game of the tour.

“It’s difficult when you’re not getting any help from the wicket on Day 1. The ball you’re actually trying to bowl…it’s not coming out that way. I was just thinking that Shami, Ishant and Bumrah were bowling well from the other end. They were beating the bat non-stop. I was just thinking that I shouldn’t concede boundaries because if that pressure is released at one end, it becomes easy for the batsmen,” he told reporters.

“We didn’t get any wickets in the second session but we didn’t concede many runs either (55 runs between lunch and tea). We came back well. Everyone did their job in the bowling department.”

Jadeja’s weapon is clever pace variation, and he showed on Friday what India missed on a wearing track in the fourth Test defeat at Southampton. He was vital in England losing six wickets for 65 runs in the evening session. Getting Stokes was vital in pegging the scoring.

“The way we’d set the field — bringing square-leg up, pushing deep mid-wicket wide — and with the ball not spinning much off the pitch, we knew sooner or later he would try the sweep shot. Actually, I’d spotted that he was already getting down (to sweep). So I bowled a full ball. And he didn’t know if he should sweep or not and the bat didn’t come out at all. It was a good wicket,” he explained.

“Everyone bowled well. Especially when the partnership between Moeen Ali and Alastair Cook was on (73 in 40.1 overs), our plan was that if they didn’t get boundaries, they’d panic and play wrong shots and get out. And that’s exactly what happened.”

Jadeja didn’t have a great time at the Oval last year, after he and Ashwin failed in the ICC Champions Trophy final defeat against Pakistan. That saw their exit from limited-overs teams with wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal sealing their spots.

But he is determined to reclaim his place in all three formats. The last time Jadeja faced England, his seven-wicket second-innings haul bowled India to a big win at Chennai in 2016. He has played 11 Tests since then, taking 60 wickets, but in away Tests, Ashwin has played as the lone spinner and Pandya as the all-rounder.

“For me the biggest thing is that I am playing for India, and maybe if I do well, I will be back playing all three formats of the game soon enough.

“But my job is, whenever I get an opportunity I should convert it into performance. When you are playing just one format it is very tough because there is too much gap between matches and the experience you need to play at international level is less.

“So you have to keep motivating yourself, that whenever you get a chance, like in this game, whatever ability I have, I have to give my best on the field.”

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