4th Test: England start well in chase of 368
The fourth Test between England and India is well poised on a good batting surface at The Oval. Day 4 saw India resume their second innings on 270/3, with a lead of 171 runs. India were bowled out for 466, setting England a target of 368 runs. In reply, the hosts haven't lost any wicket so far (77/0). Here's more.
England bowled well in the morning on a good batting deck. They bowled in the right areas and conceded 59 runs. India went on to lose three wickets in the session, including the set Virat Kohli, who went too far ahead with a forward defense and edged the ball to the first slip of Moeen Ali. Ravindra Jadeja and Ajinkya Rahane perished as well.
India were reduced to 312/6 after Kohli's dismissal. Rishabh Pant and Shardul Thakur didn't let the English bowlers dominate thereafter. They stitched a 100-run stand to take the visitors past 400. Surprisingly, Thakur was the aggressor among the two. Pant was rather patient and occasionally brought out his strokes. He smashed 50 off 106 deliveries with the help of 4 fours.
Shardul was on top gear with the bat for a second successive occasion. He had stunned the English bowlers with his counter-attack in the first innings, hammering a 36-ball 57. Thakur smashed another half-century in similar fashion (60). He has become only the ninth player in Test history with a 50+ score in both innings batting at number eight or lower.
England spinner Moeen Ali bowled a superb delivery to Kohli and got him at a crucial juncture. Ali was also instrumental in getting the wicket of Pant, who was going well after registering a half-century. Joe Root also lent his support and dismissed the dangerous Shardul. This highlighted that spinners will be in the game and India have just one in Ravindra Jadeja.
England openers Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns have given England the perfect start in a big run-chase. They have stitched a fifty-plus stand and have made use of a sublime batting surface. England are well in the match and will back themselves on Day 5.