Oval Test left delicately poised

04 September 2021 05:09:09 GMTPlus11
Fourth Test hanging in the balance

The fourth Test between England and India remains delicately poised following stumps on day two at The Oval.

India will resume day three on 43-0 for their second innings, still trailing England by 56 runs, but they are priced at 1.001 to win the Test and take a 2-1 lead in the series, while the hosts are available at 1501.00, with the draw at 51.00.

England began Friday's action on 53-3 and hoped to go well beyond India's first innings total of 191, but the early dismissals of Craig Overton (1) and Dawid Malan (31) left that very much in doubt.

Jonny Bairstow and Ollie Pope set about steadying the ship, with the latter's knock of 81 taking England beyond India's total, while Chris Woakes' quickfire 50 after coming in at number nine meant the hosts had established a lead of 99 before they were dismissed for 290.

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In response, India's openers Rohit Sharma (20no) and KL Rahul (22no) were able to bat out the rest of the evening session, and they will be confident of building a considerable partnership on day three, as conditions continue to become more conducive to batting.

England's star of the day Pope certainly knows India have the quality to take advantage of the improving batting conditions, while the Surrey man was also frustrated not to make a century at his home ground.

"I was pretty gutted [to get out for 81]. Home ground, it would have been a dream to get over the line. I would have taken it [a score of 81 before the match] but gutted at the same time," Pope told Sky Sports.

"It is a good pitch now. Hopefully the clouds roll in tomorrow and we can get it swinging."

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