The fourth Test between England and India is currently nicely poised after India finished the second day 56 runs behind the hosts. A fighting knock of 81 from Ollie Pope helped England earn a first-innings lead of 99 runs on day two. The Indian bowlers started the day well, with pacer Umesh Yadav picking up two wickets within the first eight overs. His first victim of the day was Craig Overton, followed by Dawid Malan. England found themselves stuttering on 62-5 before Pope and Jonny Bairstow resurrected the innings. The pair shared 89 runs between them before Mohammed Siraj got Bairstow out for 37. Pope then stitched another crucial partnership of 71 runs with Moeen Ali, before Ravindra Jadeja removed the latter. After Chris Woakes chipped in with another 50 runs, England were bowled out for 290. In reply, India reached 43-0 at stumps, with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul unbeaten on 20 and 22 respectively.
Let’s take a look at the talking points from day two’s play.
Jarvo returns once again
The pitch invader was back again, this time at The Oval during the 34th over of England’s first innings. Known as ‘Jarvo’, the tall and well-built man had earlier invaded the field twice at Lord’s and Leeds and was also banned for life from the Headingley Cricket Ground. But several warnings did not stop him from invading the pitch for the third time this series. He ran towards Jonny Bairstow to bowl a delivery to the batter but ended up colliding with the batter and was immediately escorted off the ground by security guards.
As per a report from Reuters, Jarvo has been arrested on suspicion of assault for colliding with Bairstow. “A man has been arrested on suspicion of assault following an incident at the Oval Cricket Ground on Friday, 3 September. He remains in custody at a south London police station,” the Metropolitan Police told British media houses.
Ollie Pope’s masterclass
Pope walked into bat when England were 62 for 5, and not many would have envisaged the kind of innings that he played. He did not have a 50 in his 15 previous Test innings and had averaged only 21.63 in 2021 before his first innings knock in the fourth Test against India. What helped him, though, was his first-class average of over 100 at The Oval. Pope has impressive performances at this venue in domestic cricket and was finally able to translate those into international cricket.
He shared a 61-run partnership with Bairstow and then added another 71 runs along with Moeen Ali. A counter-attacking batting was displayed by the young batter; he hit three fours against Shardul Thakur in one over before being dismissed by the same bowler on 81 runs. After the day’s play, Pope was disappointed about missing out on a century but was also hopeful of carrying this form to the remainder of the series.
“Obviously, I would have liked to get a hundred today. You see the hunger among the guys who have been at the top. I want to do everything in my power to get right to the top of my game,” Pope said at a virtual press conference at the end of day two’s play.
Chris Woakes and Umesh Yadav’s impressive returns to Test cricket
Chris Woakes returned to Test cricket after more than a year – during which he missed out on matches due to Covid isolation and then a bruised heel after slipping down the stairs. The English seamer showed no signs of rustiness upon his return to the field, picking five wickets during India’s first innings, and then scoring a gritty fifty to help his team get to 290. Coming to bat at no. 9, the all-rounder added 35 runs off just 40 balls with James Anderson. “I was desperate to play cricket again, and it is good to be back. It feels like a long time coming, but it was well worth the pain. It is nice to show what I can do and showcase my skills,” the 33-year-old told The Daily Mail ahead of the fourth Test.
As for India’s Umesh Yadav, this was his first Test appearance since December 2020, and he made it a memorable one with figures of 3-76. Yadav turned things around early on day two by sending back Overton, which was also his 150th Test wicket. He became the sixth Indian fast bowler to reach the milestone, joining a list having Kapil Dev, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Javagal Srinath and Mohammed Shami.
Rohit Sharma’s 15000 runs in international cricket
With 261 runs, Rohit Sharma is India’s second-highest run-scorer in the series so far, only behind his opening partner KL Rahul who has 291 runs.
On day two of the fourth Test, Sharma remained unbeaten on 20 after being given an extra life by Rory Burns, who missed a catch at the second slip off James Anderson’s bowling. At that time, the Indian opener had scored only six runs.
On day two, Rohit also achieved the landmark of completing 15,000 runs in international cricket. He is now the eighth cricketer from India to achieve the landmark after Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, Sourav Ganguly, MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag and Mohammad Azharuddin.
India, trailing by 56 runs from England, will be looking to take a lead when their openers resume play on day four.