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PIX: India off to good start after England take lead

Last updated on: September 03, 2021 23:56 IST
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Images from Day 2 of the fourth Test between England and India, at The Oval, on Friday.

England batsman Ollie Pope is bowled by India pacer Shardul Thakur during Day 2 of the fourth Test, at The Kia Oval in London, on Friday.

IMAGE: England batsman Ollie Pope is bowled by India pacer Shardul Thakur during Day 2 of the fourth Test, at The Kia Oval in London, on Friday. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

India’s openers made a promising start to their second innings after Ollie Pope and Chris Woakes earned England a substantial 99-run first innings lead on Day 2 of the fourth Test, at The Kia Oval in London, on Friday.

At stumps, India were 43 without loss, 56 runs behind, with K L Rahul unbeaten on 22 and Rohit Sharma on 20.

 

Earlier, England were all out for 290 in the first innings, riding on Pope's 81 and Woakes's brisk 50.

In the absence of Mohammad Shami, the Indian pace attack wasn’t potent enough on the day, unable to put sustained pressure on the English batsmen.

From a precarious 62 for 5, England staged a remarkable recovery to score 290 on a pitch getting better for batting with each session.

Chris Woakes

IMAGE: Chris Woakes contributed a brisk 50 down the order to enable England take a sizeable lead. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Nevertheless, despite losing the initiative, India are still in the match after restricting England’s lead to less than 100 though Pope and Woakes’s attacking innings in the final session could well prove to be the difference in the match.

India's batting, which has let the team down often in overseas conditions and in the ongoing series, will have to find a way to score at least 300-plus in the second innings.

Rohit and Rahul made a promising start, the former, on 20, getting a life on 6 when Rory Burns failed to sight a regulation catch at second slip.

K L Rahul

IMAGE: Opener K L Rahul bats during India’s second innings. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Considering the batting-friendly conditions at The Oval, the batsmen, especially the struggling middle-order, will be expected to deliver and keep India in the game.

India's third and fourth choice pacers  -- especially Mohammad Siraj and Shardul Thakur, were unable to maintain pressure put by Umesh Yadav (3/76) and Jasprit Bumrah (2/67) early in the England innings even as Ravindra Jadeja played his role well, taking two wickets and keeping things tight from his end.

England were bowled out after tea, Woakes getting run-out following a destructive knock that comprised 11 fours.

The pitch played true allowing the England batsmen to hit on the up.

Pope, playing his first match of the series, showed an attractive range of strokes, including on the up straight drives and cover drives.

Morning session:

Umesh Yadav celebrates taking the wicket of Dawid Malan.

IMAGE: Umesh Yadav celebrates taking the wicket of Dawid Malan. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Earlier, Umesh Yadav struck twice in the first hour of play before a counter-attacking stand between Jonny Bairstow and Ollie Pope rallied England to 139 for 5 at lunch.

At the break, Bairstow and Pope were going strong on 34 and 38 respectively after England resumed the day on 53 for 3.

The hosts still trail by 52 runs after bowling out India for 191 on Day 1.

England's Ollie Pope goes on his toes to dispatch the ball to the boundary during Day 2.

IMAGE: England's Ollie Pope goes on his toes to dispatch the ball to the boundary. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

England scored 86 runs in the 25-over session, Bairstow and Pope sharing an unbeaten 77-run stand off 109 balls.

Umesh, perennially in and out of the playing eleven and featuring in his first Test in nine months, was impressive in his opening spell after taking the prized wicket of Joe Root on Thursday.

He bagged his 150th Test wicket in his first over of the day when night-watchman Craig Overton slashed one hard, only to edge it to Virat Kohli at first slip.

England batsman Jonny Bairstow reacts as a spectator, dressed as a cricketer, invades the pitch during the morning session during Day 2.

IMAGE: England batsman Jonny Bairstow reacts as a spectator, dressed as a cricketer, invades the pitch during the morning session on Day 2. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Dawid Malan (31 off 67) again batted fluently until Umesh, coming from around the wicket, got one to slightly straighten up to take the outside edge and Rohit Sharma took a brilliant diving catch at second slip, leaving England in a spot of bother at 62 for 5.

With Jasprit Bumrah also applying pressure from the other end, England scored only 25 runs in the first hour, in which 12 overs were bowled.

However, the momentum shifted drastically England's way after the drinks break, as Shardul Thakur conceded four boundaries in his over, three of which came from Pope's bat.

England's Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow during their unbroken 77-run partnership for the sixth wicket.

IMAGE: England's Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow compliment each other during their unbroken 77-run partnership for the sixth wicket before lunch. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

One was a delightful straight drive, which was followed by a flick between the mid-on and mid-wicket arc.

With the pitch not offering much help to the pacers, Thakur paid the price for bowling a bit too full.

In the next over, Bairstow collected three boundaries off Mohammad Siraj, who too wasn't at his best.

Jonny Bairstow hits out

IMAGE: Jonny Bairstow hits out. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

When Umesh came back for his second spell, Bairstow dispatched him for three fours, including a crisp straight drive.

Pope, playing his first game of the series, batted with supreme confidence and struck a gorgeous cover drive off Bumrah towards the end of the session.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja was guilty of bowling two no-balls in his three overs before lunch.

Post-Lunch session

England's Ollie Pope acknowledges the applause from the crowd after scoring 50 during Day 2 of the fourth Test, at the Kia Oval in London, on Friday.

IMAGE: England's Ollie Pope acknowledges the applause from the crowd after scoring 50.  Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

A sublime half-century by Ollie Pope helped England take the first innings lead against India in the fourth Test, at The Oval, on Friday.

At tea on Day 2 of the match, the hosts were 227 for 7, ahead by 36 runs, with Pope (batting on 74 off 143 balls) and Chris Woakes (on 4 off 7) in the middle.

 

The Indian pacers were unable to sustain the pressure on a pitch that seems to be getting better for batting with each passing session.

The first wicket in the session came through Mohammad Siraj, who trapped Jonny Bairstow (37) with his stock ball, which nipped back in the fifth over after lunch and brought an end to an entertaining 89-run stand between Bairstow and Pope.

Mohammed Siraj celebrates with teammates after dismissing Jonny Bairstow.

IMAGE: Mohammed Siraj celebrates with teammates after dismissing Jonny Bairstow. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Pope then got together with Moeen Ali (35) to give England the upper hand. The two shared a 71-run stand and before a well-set Moeen played a poor shot off Ravindra Jadeja and threw his wicket away.

The attempted slog-sweep went straight into the hands of Rohit Sharma, the cover fielder.

Jasprit Bumrah could have had Moeen leg before wicket earlier but India did not review the on-field umpire's decision.

Pope played some exquisite shots en route to his sixth half-century. His drive on the up, the flick and pull shots were a treat to the eye.

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