Ind v Eng Oval Test: Pope & Woakes shines as England take 99 run 1st innings lead
The Oval test has moved very quickly in just 2 days and India is already batting in the second innings !! England who was struggling at 62/5 earlier managed to finally take a crucial 99 run lead but Indians should be happy that they managed to wipe off 43 from the lead without losing any wickets to set up a great 3rd day on a good batting surface.
Indians started the day on a great note as Umesh Yadav started from where he ended on the previous day when he got Root bowled through the gate at the end of day one. On this day he dismissed nightwatchman Overton as he chased an outswinger and was caught at slips by Kohli in the second over of the day. That followed the crucial wicket of a well shaping Dawid Malan (31) who was brilliantly caught by Rohit at second slip diving to his right.
However, India was thwarted for the remainder of the first session by Bairstow and Ollie Pope who was playing his first test of the series. Both playing cautiously initially and then started to rotate the strike. Finally began to unleash boundaries on both sides of the pitch. They were helped by some loose bowling from Shardul and Siraj. They reached 139/5 at lunch.
After lunch, England lost Bairstow (37) to a good incoming delivery from Siraj who otherwise had a subdued day. After the fruitful 89 run stand was ended between Bairstow and Pope. Moeen came in and played a steady innings that included some lovely cover drives. However, after adding 71 runs with Pope, a well-settled Moeen (35) went for a big shot off Jadeja to spoon a catch straight to Rohit to put England at 222/7. It was a most unnecessary shot by the England vice-captain which got India back in the game. Ind v Eng Oval Test: Pope, Woakes shines as England take 99 run 1st innings lead.
Post tea, Pope was dismissed for 81 having played on to Shardul Thakur against the run of play. His patient innings held England batting together after they looked in trouble in the first hour of play at 62/5.
Pope’s dismissal signalled Chris Woakes to get runs quickly. And he played brilliant shots on the rise especially through the offside. He took the attack to the Indian bowlers scoring a spectacular knock of 50 off 60 balls and full of dazzling strokes. As Robinson was out cheaply. Finally, in trying to pinch a single off the last ball of Bumrah. Woakes was run out and England was all out for 290 taking a lead of 99. Which at one stage looked impossible when they were struggling at 62/5. Woakes hit 11 sumptuous fours in his 50.
The Indian bowlers struggled on the batting pitch but still managed to pick up wickets at regular intervals. Umesh 3/76, Bumrah 2/67 and Jadeja 2/36 bowled well at different times.
However, after an early scare for Rohit Sharma when his edge could not be sighted by Burns at the second slip. The Indian batters played with a positive frame of mind, in spite of getting beaten by the odd ball. They added 43 for no loss and reduced the lead to 56 by the end of day 2 with Rohit on 20 and Rahul on 22.
The pitch has looked very good for batting on the second day as the sun was out. The experts say that the Oval pitch remains good for batting on days 2 and 3. Then it may start to grip from day 4. Hence this can be great news for Indian batsmen. But they need to be wary of any early morning collapse which saw them losing 2 tests in England this season.
India 191 and 43 /0
England 290 Pope 81 , Woakes 50Umesh 3/76