India reached stumps on day two of the fourth Test with England at the Oval on 43-0 for their second innings, still trailing the hosts by 56 runs but with the match delicately poised (England 10/11, India 13/10, Draw 15/2 – Match Winner).
England resumed Friday’s play on 53-3, and they would have been hoping to go well beyond India’s first innings total of 191, although the early losses of Craig Overton (1) and Dawid Malan (31) left that very much in doubt.
Jonny Bairstow and Ollie Pope did manage to steady the ship, with the latter’s knock of 81 particularly catching the eye, as he helped England surpass India’s total before he eventually became Shardul Thakur’s only wicket of the innings.
🏏 | England start day 2 of the fourth Test on 53/3 trailing India by 138 runs.
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Chris Woakes picked up the baton left by Pope, as he produced a quickfire knock of 50 to help Joe Root’s side establish a 99-run lead as they were eventually bowled out for 290.
In response, India survived the remainder of the evening session with openers Rohit Sharma (20no) and KL Rahul (22no) still at the crease, and the tourists will now be looking to build a considerable advantage on day three, with batting conditions at the Oval continuing to improve (Over 320.5 runs 10/11, Under 320.5 runs 5/6 – Innings Three Total Runs).
That is certainly a concern for England, with Pope acknowledging the pitch is now set up for batting, while he was also left with mixed feelings about his own knock, as the Surrey star missed out on making a century at his home ground.
“I was pretty gutted [to get out for 81]. Home ground, it would have been a dream to get over the line. I would have taken it [a score of 81 before the match] but gutted at the same time,” Pope told Sky Sports.
“It is a good pitch now. Hopefully, the clouds roll in tomorrow, and we can get it swinging.”