Half-centuries from Shardul Thakur (60) and Rishabh Pant (50) powered Team India to a mammoth total of 466 runs in the second innings of the fourth Test match at The Oval in London. In reply, the home team, chasing a target of 368 runs, ended the penultimate day on 77/0 with Rory Burns and Haseeb Hammed unbeaten on 31 and 43 respectively.
The visiting side started the day with skipper Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja building a steady partnership for the fourth wickets after India lost Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara in the first over off the second new ball on Day 3. On a bright day with the pitch conducive for batting, the duo consolidated the innings in the first half of the session and forged a crucial 59-run stand before the southpaw was dismissed by an incoming delivery from Chris Woakes for 17.
Making a comeback into the playing XI of the England outfit, Woakes picked up another scalp as he trapped Ajinkya Rahane in his following over. With two quick wickets, the onus of the side relied heavily on Kohli and Pant. However, the captain was dismissed as he edged a straight delivery to Craig Overton in the slip cordon off Moeen Ali for a well-compiled 44.
Despite losing three wickets in the first session, Shardul, along with Pant, took the attack of the opposition and notched up a 100-run partnership for the seventh wicket. Continuing his fine form with the bat, Shardul displayed an array of strokes all around the ground, including his trademark straight drives to smash a destructive 60 off 72 balls before he was dismissed in an identical fashion as Kohli.
5️⃣0️⃣ in the first innings ✅— Sony Sports (@SonySportsIndia) September 5, 2021
5️⃣0️⃣ In the second innings ✅
1️⃣ Shardul Thakur!
Tune into Sony Six (ENG), Sony Ten 3 (HIN), Sony Ten 4 (TAM, TEL) & SonyLIV (https://t.co/AwcwLCPFGm ) now! 📺#ENGvINDOnlyOnSonyTen #BackOurBoys #Thakur pic.twitter.com/0eAobMJPTF
Pant, on the other hand, scored 50 off 106 balls to guide the team to a massive total in the second innings. However, the 23-year old tried to attack the bowling unit and was caught and bowled by Ali after reaching his half-century. With cameos from Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah down the order, the visiting side managed to set a target of 368 runs in the fourth innings.
Despite an unbeaten 77-run opening partnership, on a Day 5 wicket with plenty of footmarks and a huge total on the board, Team India will fancy their chances of recording a famous win and going 2-1 up in the series.