Before the start of the 2nd innings, England was on top as the lead was 99. Indian openers did what they have done for the most part of the series. Both were solid as a rock and kept the new ball in check. Rahul was the aggressor and saw the second day without losing a wicket. Thord day belonged to India and 4th day’s first session went to England as they picked three big fish in Jadeja, Rahane, and Kohli in the first session.
Rishabh Pant who hasn’t played any substantial inning in the series so far stitched a 100-runs partnership along with Shardul Rahul who scored his second fifty of the match. Shardul Thakur was yet again exceptional as he scored yet another fifty and looked more fluent than any other Indian batter. Even Rishabh Pant struggled at times but Shardul was as fluent as anything. His inning included 8 fours and a six and before he got out, India’s lead was close to 300.
Once he departed, Risabh Pant too didn’t last long and he too got out in trying to up the scoring rate. Bumrah and Umesh played a nice cameo as both were aggressive and got some boundaries that took the lead beyond 350. India finally was bowled out of 466 with a lead of 367 and England had to negotiate 3 and a half sessions of play. England openers played brilliantly as they negotiated 32 overs without losing a wicket. 5th day can see all three results as one can’t rule out a draw as well. Some roughs have been created and because fast bowlers haven’t been able to extract anything from the surface, it’s time for Jadeja to put on a show.
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It has been a decent start for the visitors, but chasing such a stiff target is never easy, especially on a day 5 wicket. If India manages to break through and find an opening in the morning session and if they get a few more wickets, this might prove to be an interesting contest. Else this match is probably heading towards a draw. But given the nature of this series, you cannot predict anything. All the results are still possible and we will have to wait and watch how the game unfolds from this situation.
England’s openers have done extremely well against the new ball as the conditions have gotten better and better for batting. India would have fancied their chances after setting a target in excess of 350. But the English openers came out with positive intent and made the most of the conditions in the final session. They were cautious initially and made sure to put the bad balls away from them as the Dukes got slightly older. Earlier in the day, all the Indian batsmen barring Ajinkya Rahane chipped in with useful contributions.
India hasn’t been able to find an opening and Indian pacers will have to do that soon as the pitch still looks good for batting. Shardul was the only bowler who was not used in the 32 overs that India bowled on day 4. Jadeja will be bowling 30 odd overs on the 5th day and he will be India’s trump card. Indian team hopes rely on him in this 4th Test which is evenly poised at this stage.