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Recent Match Report – India vs England 4th Test 2021

Recent Match Report - India vs England 4th Test 2021

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Report

Chris Woakes leads England’s charge with ball, India under-par despite rapid fifty from Shardul Thakur

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

India were bowled out cheaply on the first day for the second Test in a row but retained a foothold after taking three England wickets in the late-afternoon sunshine at The Oval.

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Chris Woakes – playing a first-class game for the first time since August 2020 after missing 11 Tests through isolation, rotation and injury – took four wickets and Ollie Robinson continued his fine summer with three, with England’s seamers relentless in reducing India to 127 for 7.
Most of India’s batters had made starts before being dismissed – Virat Kohli played fluently for 50 before falling to Robinson for the third consecutive Test – but Shardul Thakur‘s 57 off 36 balls changed the complexion of their innings. He teed off from No. 8 after being recalled to the side, and his half-century – the fastest recorded in a Test in England – gave India something to bowl at.

England had chosen to bowl after winning the toss in overcast conditions but were basking in hazy sunshine by the time their openers headed out midway through the final session. But three late wickets – both openers falling to Jasprit Bumrah and Joe Root castled by Umesh Yadav – left them teetering at 53 for 3 by the close.

Much of England’s early success came from bowling dry. They had initially struggled to find swing with the lacquer still on the new ball – James Anderson conceded 20 in his first four overs and was punished for overpitching – but Robinson and Woakes rarely erred from a good length and strung together seven consecutive maidens with the score on 28.

2:20

Ian Bell: An outstanding, all-round effort from the England bowlers

Ian Bell: An outstanding, all-round effort from the England bowlers

Those maidens included the dismissals of both openers. Woakes, back to fitness after a freak heel injury suffering slipping down a flight of stairs, had the ball swinging immediately and induced an outside edge; Rohit Sharma had been leaving fuller balls, but Woakes dragged his length back and had him caught behind by Jonny Bairstow, keeping wicket with Jos Buttler absent on paternity leave.

And after an immaculate new-ball spell, Robinson had KL Rahul trapped lbw with a nip-backer. The decision was upheld via the DRS but only thanks to Richard Illingworth’s earlier on-field call; Rahul was nearly outside the line as he was hit on the back pad, but ball-tracking said umpire’s call.

Anderson’s second spell was a significant improvement, and he had Cheteshwar Pujara feathering an edge behind to Bairstow. Kohli looked in fine touch earlier on, but the main talking point over the lunch interval was the promotion of Ravindra Jadeja to No. 5 – seemingly to break up the run of right-hand batters in India’s middle order.

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