Updated: Sep 3, 2021
Brief Scores: England 53 for 3 (Malan 26*, Bumrah 2-15) trail India 191 (Thakur 57, Kohli 50, Woakes 4-55, Robinson 3-38) by 138 runs
After three Test matches, the India vs England Test Series 2021 is evenly poised at 1-1. The fourth Test match is very crucial at this stage as whoever wins this match can move one step forward towards winning the LV Insurance series.
The pitch at the Kennington Oval has traditionally been spin-friendly but this time around had just enough for the seamers to extract some help on the first morning. Overcast conditions on the first morning played their part in England bowlers’ success as well.
India’s top order falters as they reach 54/3 before lunch after being asked to bat
England won the toss and elected to bowl first. Both the teams made two changes each. For India, Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav replaced Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami respectively. On the other hand for England, Ollie Pope and Chris Woakes replaced Jos Buttler and Sam Curran respectively.
India’s openers started very well but after Chris Woakes’ entry into the attack, the openers started struggling and faltered in front of his swinging deliveries. KL Rahul has struggled against inswingers in this series and got dismissed off an incoming delivery from Ollie Robinson this time around. Rohit Sharma fell to an away-going delivery from Woakes while Cheteshwar Pujara succumbed to James Anderson and overall for the 11th time in test cricket.
Virat Kohli scores measured 50 but Shardul Thakur’s hurricane 57 steals the limelight
The only saving grace among India’s designated batters was skipper Virat Kohli who scored a 50 off 96 deliveries with eight sublime hits to the fence. India eventually got bowled out for 191 runs in 61.3 overs. For India, the top-scorer was Shardul Thakur with 57 runs which included seven fours and three sixes.
Thakur’s 57 runs from 36 balls at a strike rate of 158.33 saved India from another massive collapse. Shardul Thakur's half century was second fastest in Tests for India. Although today, Virat Kohli scored a half century, his duty as a captain and world’s foremost batsman dictated him to be on the crease for a longer period of time and score as many runs as he can.
Chris Woakes’ 4/55, Ollie Robinson’s 3/38 destroy India
The England pacers were in top form and destroyed the Indian batting very easily under 200 runs. The England bowlers bowled a great line and length and started troubling India’s batters from the first ball of the match. The pick of the bowlers for England in the first innings was Chris Woakes with four wickets having conceded just 55 runs with six maiden overs in the 15 overs he bowled. Woakes joining back the team after a long lay off but, didn't look rusty even for a single over. He had been on the money from the word go.
The other pacers too took wickets. Ollie Robinson scrapped three wickets whereas James Anderson and Craig Overton took 1 wicket each. England yet again were on the spot with the bowling changes and player set up. Somehow India didn't the suffer the collapse like Headingley courtesy Shardul Thakur's the quick runs.
India’s middle-order with the exception of Kohli fails again
India’s middle-order failed once again. Cheteshwar Pujara creates problems for himself as he starts following the ball. He has got dismissed to James Anderson for the 11th time in his career. Ajinkya Rahane and wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant were again not able to prove themselves whether they are eligible to feature in the starting XI or not. The reason behind their failure either can be bad form or they are trying new things which aren't working for them.
Today, Ravindra Jadeja was promoted to No. 5 as a tactical change for maintaining the left right combination. However, Jadeja got out cheaply for 10 runs and plan couldn't yield any positive result.
Jasprit Bumrah rattles England openers; Umesh Yadav snaps up Joe Root
The England openers who registered a 100-plus partnership in the last match at Headingley Cricket Ground, Leeds were not able to provide a good start to their team this time around. Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed got out in the same over to Jasprit Bumrah to leave England reeling at 6/2.
India got the crucial wicket of England captain Joe Root before the end of play on Day 1 with an exceptional in-dipper pitched at a good length from Jasprit Bumrah. Root was only able to score 21 runs. India needed his wicket early as they had scored only 191 runs. He is the only Englishman who has troubled Indian bowling with his shots and batting technique.
On Day 1, first two sessions went to England and the third session went to India where they took three important wickets for 53 runs which included the most important wicket of Joe Root who is the highest run-scorer in the series so far.
With Joe Root’s important wicket, the match is evenly poised after stumps on Day 1. On Day 2, India would look to bowl out England under 200 runs whereas England would try to take a lead of at least 100-150 runs.