India have somewhat regained momentum after ending Day 2 of the fourth Test without losing a wicket and putting 43 runs on the board.
After being bundled out for only 191 in the first inning, Virat Kohli’s troops sent Joe Root’s side back to the pavilion at 290.
Chris Woakes is back!
England’s wizard has come to rescue them once again.
Replacing Jos Buttler in the fourth Test, Woakes looks in fine touch.
After returning from an injury, he first picked up four wickets and notched up a brilliant fifty against India.
His quickfire 50 off 60 propelled the hosts to a respectable total.
None of the Woakes’ shots were flukes. He hit proper cricketing shots, crispy cover drives, and well-timed pull shots to keep the Indian pace cartel in check.
Ravi Jadeja was bowling very well, using his straighter ones timely as well, but Woakes’ front foot defence neutralised the Indian all-rounder’s skills.
It goes to show how vital is Woakes’ presence in England’s team in all formats of the sport.
Pope misses out on a grand ton
Ollie Pope, often dubbed as Ian Bell 2.0, put on a sublime performance once again before falling to a soft dismissal.
The middle-order batsman’s 81 got him a standing ovation at the Oval.
However, the disappointment was evident on his face as he missed out on a patient century on his return to England’s red-ball team.
He chopped on a Shardul Thakur delivery into the stumps.
Speaking after the teams wrapped up Day 2, Pope regretted not raising his bat to the Oval’s gallery despite being so near to a Test ton.
“Home ground hundred would have been a dream, gutted at the same time,” he said.
“I tore my quad so not a lot of game time but nothing prepares you for the morning of a Test match. Standing on the middle stump for this attack is a good option, I had some success on the off stump after I did my shoulder. But batting changes a lot.”
Umesh Yadav shines on return
This Test seems to have given form to every returnee.
Umesh Yadav has made a sensational comeback to the Test arena, replacing Mohammad Shami.
After dismissing England skipper Joe Root on Day 1 with a gem of a delivery that jagged back in, he picked another two scalps to his name on Day 2.
Yadav dismissed in-form Dawid Malana and night watchman Craig Overton early in the day.
Ali fails to build his innings
Moeen Ali is a top performer for the English side regardless of the format.
With consistent performances in red-ball cricket, he is proving that he is so much more than a T20 specialist.
However, Ali failed to put the cherry on the top today.
He smashed Indian bowlers all over the park before throwing his wicket away.
The English all-rounder has made this kind of a habit.
He takes England out of tricky situations, but fails to build on a good start and falls for 30 odd runs.
Ravi Jadeja got him caught at 35 today.
It was a simple drifter one from Jadeja, but Ali was in the mood to send it over the long-off boundary.
Instead, he top-edged it inside the 30-yard circle for Rohit Sharma to catch it easily.
India 191 and 43 for 0 (Rahul 22*, Rohit 20*) trail England 290 (Pope 81, Woakes 50, Yadav 3-76) by 56 runs