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ENG vs IND, 4th Test Day 5: India bowlers hand visitors series lead

Day five of the fourth Test match at The Oval in London kicked off with all three results possible. England needed 291 runs in the allotted 90 overs while India needed 10 wickets. The pitch was quite flat. The seamers barely got anything out of it and barring the rough outside the off-stump for the left-handers, there wasn’t much help for the spinners either.

However, India fought hard and the bowlers put up a magnificent performance as they bowled England out for 210. The Virat Kohli-led side ended up winning by 157 runs and went 2-1 up in this five-match Test series. Except for the England openers and a bit of resistance from skipper Joe Root, the England batting line-up once again crumbled under pressure.

There were several talking points throughout this gripping fifth day of the fourth Test match. Here is a look at some of them:

You cannot keep Shardul Thakur out of the game

Shardul Thakur could not put a foot wrong in this fourth Test at the Oval. Be it with the bat or ball, everything he touched, turned to gold. He revived India from 127/7 in the first innings and smashed a counter-attacking 36-ball 57. He got the wicket of Ollie Pope (81) with the ball in England’s first essay and stroked another fine half-century (60) in the second innings.

The Mumbaikar didn’t bowl a single delivery on day four as India employed every other bowler in the side. He came into bowl in the ninth over of day five (his first of the second innings) and he got the much-needed breakthrough. Thakur broke the 100-run opening stand as he dismissed Rory Burns with a peach of a delivery. He bowled six overs in that first spell and didn’t come anywhere close to bowling another over till Kohli brought him on in the 81st over. Thakur delivered once again as he had Joe Root dragging one back onto his stumps.

Hence, Thakur just owned this Test match. He got the two big wickets and opened the floodgates both times when India needed the breakthroughs.

Jasprit Bumrah’s reverse-swinging spell

Jasprit Bumrah has been bowling superbly in this entire series. He has gone on and on and on and has barely looked tired. The Gujarat fast bowler has led this Indian attack phenomenally and he continued to do so on day five of this fourth Test. He kept toiling away late on day four and even in the morning session of the final day. However, Bumrah didn’t get the rewards.

But in the post-lunch session, Bumrah steamed in and changed the momentum of the game completely. He bowled a terrific spell alongside Ravindra Jadeja who also got two wickets in that phase bowling from the other end. Bumrah found some reverse swing and he just drove that to his advantage. He knocked over Ollie Pope with an in-ducker before castling Jonny Bairstow with a searing in-swinging yorker. He almost snuck through Root’s defence as well and that spell had figures of 6-3-6-2. He also became the fastest India quick to pick up 100 Test wickets, at an average of just over 22!

Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed notch up half-centuries and a 100-run stand

England have had issues with their top three for a while now. It has been quite fragile and often, England find themselves in trouble as they tend to lose a couple of early wickets in almost every game. However, the pair of Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed have been impressive. They have batted together three times and they have notched up 100+ run stands twice already. Dom Sibley and Burns put on 100 or more for the opening stand just once in 26 innings. Moreover, both Burns and Hameed recorded half-centuries which are promising signs for England. That might be the only positive that they can take out of the final day of this fourth Test match.

Dawid Malan’s runout

Quick singles have often been up for debate, especially in Test cricket. Whether they are as important or not, is a different story. But Dawid Malan was at the receiving end of one such quick single on day five as he was runout a few overs before lunch. Haseeb Hameed tapped a delivery from Ravindra Jadeja in front of cover and called Malan for the single. Mayank Agarwal who was the substitute fielder on ran in and fired a decent throw at Rishabh Pant who took the bails off to catch Malan short of his ground. The England No. 3 fell for five and India got their second wicket of the day.

Ravindra Jadeja’s control

Before this Test match, there was a lot of talk around Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion. It wasn’t at the expense of Ravindra Jadeja but the second spinner could’ve been a big help for India. However, India continued to opt for the 4-1 strategy (four fast bowlers) and left the off-spinner out. Hence, the onus and pressure was on Jadeja to do the bulk of the bowling, especially in the second innings. The left-handed all-rounder did well in the first essay as he picked up a couple of wickets. In the second innings, he didn’t start off well. He bowled either too short or too full and was even guilty of dishing out a few full-tosses late on day four.

However, as he bowled more, Jadeja’s consistency got better and he troubled the England batters with the rough outside the left-hander’s off-stump (and right-hander’s leg-stump). He provided some control and kept things tight from his end. He barely gave anything away and didn’t allow England to score easily. Jadeja had conceded 24 runs in his first six overs and since then, he gave away only 26 runs in 24 overs which included 11 maidens. That spell he bowled after lunch alongside Bumrah was a match-defying one as he took the wickets of Hameed and Ali.

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