Ind v Eng 4th test : Eng set 368 to win
The Oval test is interestingly poised now. After India batted very well on a sun-drenched day to pile up 466, they set England a mammoth 4th innings target of 368 to win and so far the England openers are upto the task scoring 77/0 with very few alarms on what is still a superb batting pitch.
Starting the day on a healthy 270/3 India started cautiously through Virat Kohli and Jadeja. The main aim initially was not to lose wickets in clusters, which had been an issue with the Indian batting in this series.
After negotiating almost an hour and as Kohli was beginning to unfurl his cover drives and straight drive on the best batting day of the series, Woakes suddenly provided two breakthroughs out of the blue getting Jadeja(17) and Rahane (0) lbw. It was another heartbreaking performance from Rahane who averages only 15 in this series in 7 innings and has totalled only 109 runs. Ind v Eng 4th test : Eng set 368 to win. 77/0 at stumps with all 3 results possible.
Kohli was looking good till at 44 he edged Moeen to Overton at slip to miss out on a potential 100 in great batting conditions and he was livid at his dismissal.
However, after Kohli’s dismissal, India got the best partnership of the innings. When Pant and Shardul played sensibly and took full toll of loose deliveries. Runs began to flow more freely against a tired England bowling attack.
Shardul played sumptuous shots. One of his straight drives was absolute gold. As the score mounted he started unleashing his full range of shots and enthralled the crowd before Joe Root got him to edge to Overton at slip for a superb 60 off 72 balls with 7 fours and 1 six.
Rishabh Pant finally got his bearings back by playing a sensible innings. He showed great restraint and finally scored his first 50 of the series off 106 balls with 4 fours before he was caught and bowled by Moeen. His 100 run stand with Thakur put India in a strong position after which Bumrah (24) and Umesh (25) smashed. Some great boundaries and sixes to take India to 466 before they were all out
For England, Woakes took 3/83, Moeen and Robinson took 2 wickets each as they struggled on a batting pitch.
Set a target of 368, English openers who have recently copped a fair amount of criticism. Batted confidently to post 77/0 before stumps with Hameed (43) and Burns(31) both looking confident and had few alarms.
Kohli used Jadeja a lot in the 4th innings; but he has not yet been able to use the rough outside the lefthanders off stump that well. The other bowlers except Bumrah looked, pedestrian.
India will really have to come out with a great bowling performance to win this test and likewise. England will have to bat out of their skins to take the series lead.
India 191 & 466 Kohli 44 , Pant 50 , Thakur 60 , Woakes 3/83.
England 290 & 77/0