Images from Day 5 of the fourth Test between England and India, at The Oval, on Sunday.
England opener Haseeb Hameed adopted an ultra-defensive approach in the first session to guide England to 131 for 2 at lunch, in pursuit of a tough target of 368, on the final day of the fourth Test, at the Kia Oval, on Monday.
Hameed (batting on 62) added only 19 runs to his overnight score, as England lost Rory Burns (50) and Dawid Malan (5) during the session, in which they added just 54 runs to their total of 77 without loss on Day 4.
A maximum of 63 overs are left in the game and England need to score 237 runs. How they do it primarily depends on skipper Joe Root’s batting in the next two sessions. He was unbeaten on 8 at the break.
Ravindra Jadeja (0-21) is getting some turn and England will have a tough time scoring the required runs, at a rate of 3.76 per over.
The visitors are certainly in the driver’s seat, having already snared two wickets and Hameed’s defensive approach.
Had Mohammed Siraj not dropped an easy catch from the opener, when he was on 56, at mid-on, off the bowling of Jadeja, India would have been well-placed.
Shardul Thakur (1-15), who was disappointing in the first innings, provided the breakthrough in the 41st over after a partnership of 100 runs between Burns and Malan, the first against India in the fourth innings in 58 years.
Thakur bowled one fuller and it moved a shade away, taking the outside edge of the Burns’s bat as he squared up.
Malan was looking solid in defence till Hameed misjudged a single, tapping a Jadeja delivery to short cover, where substitute fielder Mayank Agarwal picked and threw in one action to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, who whipped off the bails. Malan was short of his ground, much to the joy of the Indians.
Hameed, who is nicknamed Baby Boycs after Geoffrey Boycott for his stodgy batting, was not even ready to dispatch the loose half volleys to the boundary, as only six fours were hit by him so far.
It all depends on how long Root waits before deciding to down shutters or go for the target, which will also help India to make some decisive inroads.
- India’s tour of England 2021
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