India defeated England by 157 runs in the fourth Test at The Oval to take an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the five-match series. England began the final day at 77/0, needing 291 runs to win. Openers Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns got to their fifties but once they were dismissed, it was all downhill for England. In the second session, England lost four wickets for six runs en route to losing 6 for just 62 runs.
Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja, two wickets each, were the wreckers-in-chief in that afternoon session, cleaning up England’s middle-order with a fuss. In the end, it was Umesh Yadav’s three-for that cleaned up India’s tail and sealed a famous win for India. Amidst all this, let’s not forget Shardul Thakur’s brace, which included the all-important scalps of Burns and Joe Root.
Set a record 368 to win, England went from 100-0 midway through the first session to getting bowled out 40 minutes after Tea, sparking wild celebrations among India’s players and fans inside the south London venue. Avoiding defeat in the final test at Old Trafford starting on Friday would see India win a test series in England for just the fourth time, after 1971, 1986, and 2007.
It was a collective team effort as everybody chipped in with some wonderful contributions. Rohit scored a century but was well supported by Rahul and Pujara. Kohli looked in fine nick and made a brilliant 44 before edging one of Moen Ali. Rahane was the only dud as Shardul and Pant also scored a brilliant fifty. Bumrah and Umesh Yadav played their part with the bat.
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India was in a spot of bother at one point but once again it was Lord Shardul who came to rescue. He provided the opening and the rest is history. However, the spell of Jasprit Bumrah in which he bowled Ollie Pope and Johnny Barristow in the same over was the difference. Umesh got rid off the tail and Jadeja also picked a couple of wickets. Pujara and Rohit didn’t take the field on the final day and we might see both of them resting for the final test.
If that happens, Mayank Agarwal and Surya Kumar Yadav are the most likely replacement. Ashwin who has been warming the bench for a while might get a game only if India plans for playing 2 spinners. Otherwise, Jadeja is all set to retain his place and Ashwin once again might have to warm the bench. It has been hard on him but Virat Kohli made it clear that noise from the outside world doesn’t bother this Indian team.
Many believed that Shardul Thakur deserved the Man of the Match as Rohit Sharma was awarded Man of the Match. Rohit saw the most difficult part of the match and got his first overseas 100 and that is why it gave a lot of headaches to the jury who chose Man of the Match. However, India won’t mind that as long as their players keep getting that award. Ajinkya Rahane needs to come good or this might be the end of the road for him is what many believes.