India vs England, Day 4, 4th Test: India takes 2-1 lead heading into the final Test as England’s middle-order collapses again.
India completed a 157-run win over England at The Oval, as Joe Root’s side collapsed from 100-0 to 210 all out. Dawid Malan was run out in comical fashion for five after a mix-up with Hameed and it was his departure just before lunch which really opened the door for India.
England went to bed last night dreaming of a potential record-run chase after Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed took them to 77-0 on day four, but their innings on day five soon became a nightmare. After five days of some grueling Test cricket, India has come out victorious, and how! The toss was in England’s favor, and their decision to bowl first was a good one as they had reduced India to 127/7 on day 1. However, Shardul Thakur played a game-changing knock of 57(36) in the final session of the opening day. As a result of his counterattacking reversal, India managed to post a respectable score of 191 in the first innings.
Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul got the visitors off to a fantastic start in the second innings. Rohit also notched up his maiden century in a way Tests and turned the tide in India’s favor. A century to remember for the ages as the opener showed a lot of character. Other Indian batters chipped in with valuable contributions as well. And once again, it was Shardul who played the pivotal inning as he notched up his second fifty of the match., helping India set a massive target of 368.
In reply, India made a tremendous effort to reduce England to 62/5 on the second day of the Test. But England’s lower middle order showed some fight as Pope and Woakes scored the fifties as the hosts managed to gain a handy lead of 99 runs. You’d think England had the upper hand halfway through the Test; however, the Indian top-order had other ideas.
With the conditions good enough for batting, England openers got the hosts off to a decent start, with both scoring fifties; however, Shardul came into the attack and got rid of Burns in his first over of day 5. The dot balls by Jadeja and other Indian pacers kept building, and England lost the plot after Malan’s run-out. Jadeja cleaned up Hameed, and that was the start of it all. England kept losing wickets at regular intervals and could never recover from those blows. It was a crumbling case under pressure as India won by 157 runs to gain an unassailable lead of 2-1. What a fantastic game of Test cricket it was!
Jadeja, bowling his best spell of the summer comfortably, finally ended Hameed’s resistance with one that pitched outside leg in the footmarks and ripped across the face of the bat. The ball collided with the top of off stump as Hameed groped at fresh air, having scored just 20 runs in 108 deliveries on the day. Bumrah seized the moment at the other end, picking up his speeds and causing mayhem as he wiped out Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow in the space of five balls. Pope allowed one to zip between bat and pad as Bumrah castled him for two before Bairstow had the base of his stumps smashed by an inswinging yorker.
Moeen was spared the same fate, avoiding Bumrah through the dubious method of gifting a bat-pad chance off Jadeja. The game was gone. Root and Woakes stopped the bleeding to buy their side some breathing space, but when the captain stabbed an innocuous Thakur offering into his stumps, they had run out of the road. India put the icing on the cake when Woakes sent them into tea with a bonus scalp, pinging Umesh Yadav to short-midwicket.
Woakes’ resistance ended soon after as Umesh Yadav got in on the act, getting him caught at short midwicket on the stroke of tea. India then wrapped up an excellent 157-run victory just after the break, with Yadav getting Craig Overton and James Anderson to put Virat Kohli’s side 2-1 up in the series with just one Test remaining.