batting conditions and a belter of a pitch at the Oval, London, the enthralling
fourth Test between England and India will see a high-octane conclusion on the
fifth and final day on Monday. Chasing a target of 368 runs to win, England’s
openers were off to blemish-free start on Sunday, scoring 77 runs without loss
with both Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns looking well settled at the crease.
will be looking to withstand the early threat from the Indian pace attack in
the first session, as batting will get easier as the day wears on. England
will especially take heart from the way the Indian lower order scored runs for
free in the latter part of day four, with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav driving James Anderson down the ground.
successful run chase at the Oval is one from well over a century ago, of 263
runs that England chased down against Australia in 1902, while only four times
in first-class history has a side chased more than 350 in the fourth innings.
have a strong batting line up, which has been bolstered with the inclusion of
first-innings half-centurion Ollie Pope and captain Joe Root is in the form of
his life. That 368-run target may not be safe for India after all.
Here are five
things to watch out for on the final day of the Oval Test:
openers to trouble India?
Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed did exactly what they and the England camp would have been hoping for after bowling out India on Sudnay, finish the day without losing a wicket. But the two have also chalked off 77 runs from the target, setting up a great platform for the hosts to launch a record run-chase from. Will they get their second three-figure stand of the series?
Root notch a fourth ton this series?
Joe Root has been in superlative form this season, scoring a record-equalling (for an Englishman) six centuries from the start of the year. Three of them came in the ongoing series vs India, with the English captain leading from the front in a bid to avenge the series loss in the subcontinent earlier this year. His 528 runs in six innings so far, averaging 105.60, is well clear of Rohit Sharma’s 368 runs in second place. Will the skipper get another ton and help complete a historic chase?
lower middle order to fire once again?
Ollie Pope, replacing Jonny Bairstow, made the most of his chance as he top-scored with an invaluable 81 to help England take a 99-run first-innings lead. He was aided in the effort by Jonny Bairstow (37), Moeen Ali (35) and Chris Woakes (50). Can they emulate the Indian middle-lower order and guide England to a famous Test win.
Will the Indian
pacers hit the mark?
India will be looking for early breakthroughs on Day 5 to expose the middle order and put England under pressure. Shardul Thakur will look to repeat his batting heroics with the ball, while pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah want to catch up with Ollie Robinson at the top of the wicket-taking charts for this series.
absence hurt India?
While the Oval pitch is perfect for batting, it is also offering a bit for the spinners. But Ravindra Jadeja is not much of a spinner, relying more on pace and bounce variations to get his scalps. With that in mind, India might just regret not keeping its premier spinner in Ravichandran Ashwin in the squad.