Test series against England

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Day 4 of the 4th Test between India and England: England make a strong start after a Rishabh Pant-Shardul Thakur stand helps India set a 368-run target.

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Monday, 6th September 2021

As the fourth Test approached an enthralling home stretch, India's under-fire opening partnership made a solid start after an indomitable Shadul Thakur and a composed Rishabh Pant guaranteed a 367-run lead. After Thakur (60 off 72 balls) and Pant (50 off 107 balls) helped India put on a solid 466 in their second effort, Haseeb Hameed (43 batting, 85 balls) and Rory Burns (31 batting, 109 balls) put on 77 runs in 32 overs on a placid ground that showed no indications of wear and strain. With 291 runs needed to reach the 368-run mark on the last day, England would be happy with a draw if not a win on the fifth day, since the pitch offers nothing to the bowlers.

Ravindra Jadeja (0/28 in 13 overs), whose core skill has been disregarded by the team management, appeared pedestrian throughout the penultimate evening's overs. A couple balls did turn, but Burns easily handled them.

Jasprit Bumrah (7-3-11-0) was the only bowler who had any effect, at least trying to put pressure on the openers.

However, India remains in the game because to the lower middle-performance, order's which saw Thakur, the batsman, surpass everyone's expectations with his second half-century of the match.

During the duo's 100-run stand, he was excellently complimented by Pant, who finally got some runs under his belt while displaying admirable discipline and sense of responsibility. Umesh Yadav (25) and Jasprit Bumrah (24) should also be credited for helping to push the goal above the 350-run mark.

While Shardul, who is affectionately known as 'Beefy' by team coach Ravi Shastri for his Ian Botham-like exploits, is proving his worth as a bowling all-rounder.

On the third day, his three straight drives were as good as any of his legendary seniors Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara hit.

It was a sight to behold when he chose an Ollie Robinson (32-7-105-2) slower early in the game and blasted it over long-on to reach 49, followed by a pull shot for a single to complete his fifty.


Also Read: The BCCI is seeking offers for a new IPL team.


If Shardul's 57 in the first innings helped the side reach a fair total, his approach in the second innings ensured Pant wasn't in his normal "harakiri" mindset, which has led to his demise on several occasions this summer.

The left-handed pitcher resisted the urge to sprint down the track and instead played each pitch on its own merits. He lofted Moeen Ali for a one bounce four only in his 30s, then in his 40s, he charged out to slash James Anderson (33-10-79-1) over covers for a boundary.

He had 76 dot balls in his innings, indicating that he had learned from his mistakes, but he was disappointed when he failed to reach the elevation, giving Moeen Ali a return catch (26-0-118-2).

Virat Kohli (44, 96 balls) showed promise with his cover drives in the first session of the day, but a magnificent slider from Moeen Ali saw him back as his forward defensive prod found the outside edge into the slip's hands.

But, in the midst of a strong batting effort, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane's yet another failure in the finest batting circumstances of the series stood out like a sore thumb.

Rahane played across the line to a straight delivery from Chris Woakes (30-8-72-2) after surviving a strong leg before appeal courtesy of DRS, and his skipper at the other end urged him not to review.

With another failure, the 78-Test veteran's place in the starting XI is becoming untenable.


The News Talkie Bureau



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