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IND vs ENG, 1st Test Day 4: England need 9 wickets, India require 381 runs for win

Brief Scores: England 337 & 178 (Joe Root 40; R Ashwin 6-61) lead India 337 (Rishabh Pant 91, Washington Sundar 85*; Dom Bess 4-76) & 39/1 (Shubman Gill 15*; Jack Leach 1-21) by 380 runs.

Team England were on the front foot by stumps on Day 4 of the 1st Test against India, and will require only nine wickets on the last day at Chepauk to script a memorable win. The home team, no stranger to batting out sessions on the last day of play in recent times, need another 381 runs to go 1-0 up in the four-match Test series. After adopting a cautious approach and not declaring, England were able to send down only 13 overs at the hosts before stumps were called on the penultimate day of the Test match. They have another 90 overs on the final day to try and aim for a series lead, while the Indians would hope that their stars can come to the party

We look at the major talking points from Day 4 of the game: 

Ishant Sharma enters record books 

Ishant Sharma’s Test career can be split into two halves. The fast bowler made his debut way back in 2007 and had a tour of Australia to remember the same year, but he failed to achieve the desired level of consistency. The Delhi pacer picked up 149 wickets in 53 Tests from 2007 to 2013 at an average of 43.86, and was unable to live up to the potential that he had once displayed. 

It was his epic 7 for 74 at Lord’s in 2014 that started Ishant’s transformation, and since then the fast bowler has gone on to emerge as the leader of India’s bowling attack. He has picked up 151 wickets since 2014 at an average of 25.90, and entered record books on Monday as he picked up his 300th wicket after dismissing Dan Lawrence Leg Before Wicket. Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan are the only Indian pacers who have more wickets than Ishant Sharma in Test cricket. 

Ishant, who missed the tour of Australia due to an injury, has been the standout fast bowler of the match, with an economy rate of just 1.93 in the first innings. He dismissed Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer with deliveries that crashed into the top of the batsmen’s off-stumps, which is a further proof of his accuracy. 

The No Balls from Indian bowlers don’t seem to stop 

After sending down as many as 20 No Balls in the first innings of the Test match in Chennai against England, the Indian cricket team continued the trend in the second innings as well, conceding seven No Balls in England’s total of 178, to take the tally to 27 for the match. The figure is not only the highest against England in Test cricket history, but is also the fourth highest by Indian against any opposition in a home Test. 

Shahbaz Nadeem has been guilty of sending down as many as nine No Balls during the two innings’, while Ravichandran Ashwin bowled his first ever No Ball of his Test career in the first innings of the game. In comparison, the English bowlers have just sent down one No Ball in the game thus far. 

Ben Stokes with the catch of the match 

Think of unbelievable catches in modern day cricket, and THAT catch by Ben Stokes in the 2019 World Cup will come to mind. The English all-rounder has emerged as one of the safest and most athletic fielders in the world of late, and the same was on display on Day 4 as well, when Stokes caught a stunner to dismiss Jasprit Bumrah. 

A full delivery from James Anderson around the off stump saw Bumrah pushing the ball, only to see it edge past low towards the right of slip. Stokes displayed his alertness as he dived with one hand to grab the ball merely inches away from the ground. This remained in sharp contrast to the fielding standards that have been on display by the Indian cricket team of late. 

India and Day 5 batting 

Team India have found themselves in a spot of bother on Day 5 in their last three Test matches now (including facing an uphill task of the current Test). Against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the visiting team needed to bat out the entire Day 5 as they looked to chase down 407 runs. The target seemed gettable when Rishabh Pant was at the crease, but his dismissal saw Indians in a spot of bother. Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin then ensured that they batted out 42 overs to ensure India draw the game. 

The same trend continued in Brisbane as well, when the Indians needed to bat the entire Day 5 with a target of 328 in front of them. Led by Pant once again, the Indians ended on the right side of the result in the game, as they scripted a series win Down Under for the ages. 

For the third time in a row, the Indian team has to bat out the last day of a Test match. They have batted out 103 overs in the fourth innings – the total overs they will be batting in the fourth innings – on 14 occasions to save a Test match in the past, while the English team have picked up 10 wickets in the fourth innings in 103 innings on 96 occasions. 

It all points to an exciting day of Test cricket, and the Indians would be hoping that their skipper Virat Kohli, who has not scored a ton in more than a year in cricket, can raise his game and lead from the front.

Also Read: Fantasy Cricket: The Unconventional Guide To Making A Team

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