LONDON: England gained a useful lead of 99 runs over India after they reached 290 all out in their first innings on the second day of the fourth Test at The Oval on Friday.
Ollie Pope fell short of his second Test century when he was bowled by Shardul Thakur for 81 but all-rounder Chris Woakes added valuable runs with a 60-ball 50, for his sixth Test half-century.
England were in dire straits at 62-5 before lunch but Pope then anchored stands of 89 with Jonny Bairstow (37) and 71 with Moeen Ali (35) to steer them out of trouble.
Woakes and Anderson (1 not out) shared a partnership of 35 runs for the last wicket before Woakes was run out attempting a quick single to keep the strike.
Pope — who like Woakes is playing his first match of the series — had earlier helped England eclipse India’s first-innings total of 191 with a diligent display as the hosts recovered to 227-7.
Umesh Yadav (3-76) dismissed England’s in-form captain Joe Root for 23 late on Thursday to help India claw their way back into the contest. The seamer, playing his first match of the series, struck twice after England resumed the second day on 53-3.
Nightwatchman Craig Overton was the first to go, snared at first slip by India captain Virat Kohli.
Dawid Malan, who made 31, followed suit after Rohit Sharma at second slip dived to his right to take a sharp catch.
The Indian seamers, who had been bowling with a lot of discipline, suddenly took their foot off the pedal and boundaries started flowing.
Pope looked in particularly good shape and hit Shardul Thakur for three boundaries in the same over.
His aggression appeared to rub off on Bairstow who meted out similar treatment to Mohammed Siraj in the next over.
Siraj broke the stand after the lunch break trapping Bairstow lbw for 37. Moeen made 35 before throwing away his wicket playing a rash stroke against Ravindra Jadeja.
The five-Test series is level at 1-1.
INDIA (1st innings) 191 (S.N. Thakur 57, V. Kohli 50; C.R. Woakes 4-55, O.E. Robinson 3-38). ENGLAND (1st Innings, overnight 53-3): R.J. Burns b Bumrah 5 Haseeb Hameed c Pant b Bumrah 0 D.J. Malan c Sharma b Yadav 31 J.E. Root b Yadav 21 C. Overton c Kohli b Yadav 1 O.J.D. Pope b Thakur 81 J.M. Bairstow lbw b Siraj 37 Moeen Ali c Sharma b Jadeja 35 C.R. Woakes run out 50 O.E. Robinson b Jadeja 5 J.M. Anderson not out 1 EXTRAS (B-1, LB-14, NB-8) 23 TOTAL (all out, 84 overs) 290 FALL OF WKTS: 1-5, 2-6, 3-52, 4-53, 5-62, 6-151, 7-222, 8-250, 9-255. BOWLING: Yadav 19-2-76-3 (2nb); Bumrah 21-6-67-2 (1nb); Thakur 15-2-54-0 (1nb); Mohammed Siraj 12-4-42-1 (1nb); Jadeja 17-1-36-1 (3nb).
Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2021