Kohli key as England make early inroads

02 September 2021 23:30:21 GMTPlus11
India captain Virat Kohli has provided stubborn opposition to the England bowlers

England's bowlers kept up the pressure on the Indian batsmen on the first morning of the fourth Test at The Oval, reducing the tourists to 54-3 at lunch.

With the five-match series level at 1-1, England are 1501.00 to claim victory in south London with India 1.001 and the draw 51.00.

England made two changes to the 11 who won the third Test in Leeds. Woakes came in for Sam Curran and Surrey batsman Ollie Pope replaced Jos Buttler, leaving Jonny Bairstow to keep wicket.

Root call pays off

The hosts made a stunning start to the third Test at Headingley, bowling India out for just 78 on their way to an innings victory, and Joe Root's faith in his attack was reflected by his decision to field first after winning the toss.

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Openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul got India off to a solid start but both were dismissed with the score at 28. After a heel problem, Chris Woakes, playing his first Test in more than a year, had Sharma caught behind by Bairstow in his first over and the in-form Ollie Robinson then trapped Rahul lbw.

Cheteshwar Pujara, who had top-scored with 91 in India's second innings at Headingley, managed only one scoring shot in 31 balls before he was caught by Bairstow in James Anderson's second spell of the morning session.

Kohli keeping India together

That left India captain Virat Kohli shouldering plenty of responsibility and he was unbeaten on 18 at lunch on day one. Ravindra Jadeja, promoted to number five ahead of Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant, will resume alongside him after the interval on two.

India again opted to leave out spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who took 32 wickets in four Tests at home against England earlier this year.

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