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With match evenly poised, England hoping to rein in Pant

Source: PTI
Last updated on: August 16, 2021 10:05 IST
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'I think anything over 220-230 is going to be pretty difficult, but not impossible obviously. It won't be easy.'

Rishabh Pant was unbeaten on 14 at stumps on Day 4, and his presence would be a big concern for the hosts, but Ali said they would look to hit back with the new ball.

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant was unbeaten on 14 at stumps on Day 4, and his presence would be a big concern for the hosts, but Ali said they would look to hit back with the new ball. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

England may have made some late inroads to set up an exciting final day with India leading by 154 runs, but the priority for the hosts is to keep the target inside 220, all-rounder Moeen Ali said after the penultimate day of the Lord's Test.

 

The off-spinning all-rounder dismissed a well-set Ajinkya Rahane (61) and Ravindra Jadeja (3) as India lost three wickets for 20 runs to finish the fourth day of the second Test at 181 for six.

"I think both teams are in a decent situation, it's been a fantastic game of cricket. I think anything over 220-230 is going to be pretty difficult, but not impossible obviously. It won't be easy," Ali said on Sunday.

Rishabh Pant was unbeaten on 14 at stumps, and his presence would be a big concern for the hosts, but Ali said they would look to hit back with the new ball.

"We know what Pant can do, he can be so dangerous. But we all have to play well tomorrow. The new ball will be crucial tomorrow. We also have Jimmy Anderson."

Moeen Ali celebrates dismissing Ravindra Jadeja

IMAGE: Moeen Ali celebrates dismissing Ravindra Jadeja. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Recalled into the side for only his second Test appearance in two years, Ali was back among the runs as well as wickets.

Dropped from the Test side after the Ashes opener in 2019, Moeen last played a five-day game six months ago against India in Chennai.

"I'm happy with myself, I'm happy with the way I'm playing... I'm not taking it too seriously anymore; I'm going to enjoy it," Moeen said after taking 2/52 on the penultimate day of the second Test on Sunday to leave the match wide open.

"I know there will be bad days, plenty of bad days in a series and I know there will be good days.

"I just wanted to be part of this series and do well, take wickets and a few runs, hopefully get some more runs. I feel all right with the bat so I'm just enjoying my cricket. It's more about enjoying myself and trying to enjoy the challenge as much as I could," he said.

"That was my aim really, it wasn't the runs or the wickets so much, although they help," added Moeen, who contributed a crucial 27 with the bat runs in the first innings.

In his last Test appearance in Chennai, Moeen dismissed India skipper Virat Kohli in both the innings to be England's highest wicket-taker (8) and was also their highest run-scorer (43) in a 317-run defeat.

"That is probably something I moved away from, going back a couple of years, but I've been doing all right. Even when I played the Test out in India, I did okay and I know that I had one bad game against Australia in 2019 but before that, I was doing well as well, so I'm all good with everything," Moeen said.

The off-spinning all-rounder dismissed a well-set Ajinkya Rahane (61) and Ravindra Jadeja (3) as India lost three wickets for 20 runs to finish the fourth day at 181 for six, leading England by 154 runs.

England pacer Mark Wood celebrates after dismissing India opener K L Rahul in the morning session on Day 4. 

IMAGE: England pacer Mark Wood celebrates after dismissing India opener K L Rahul in the morning session on Day 4. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Apart from Moeen, it was paceman Mark Wood who made most of the impact as he dismissed both the Indian openers -- KL Rahul (5) ad Rohit Sharma (21) before they could overturn the deficit.

Later, Wood returned with the old ball to get it rise sharply and take Chesterwar Pujara's wicket, breaking his dogged resistance with Rahane.

"I was very pleased for him (Wood). He was telling me in the first innings that he doesn't get the wickets he would like, and I said these things can happen and they will come. The way he bowled was fantastic and it was a great catch by me at deep square leg," Moeen said about Woods.

"He fully deserved his wickets and the wicket of Pujara was massive. The way he ran in and banged the wicket with a soft ball on a dead wicket -- he was fantastic."

Wood had an injury scare to his shoulder while attempting to save a boundary on day four but Moeen said he seemed to be "alright."

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New Zealand Tour of India, 2021