ENG vs IND, 4th Test, Day 4: India throws down the gauntlet as Shardul, Pant pile on the runs

IND vs ENG: Shardul Thakur and Rishabh Pant scored half-centuries as India set England a target of 368. England needs 291 more runs on the final day, with all 10 wickets intact.

Published : Sep 06, 2021 02:32 IST , LONDON

Shardul Thakur plays a drive en route to 60. - GETTY IMAGES
Shardul Thakur plays a drive en route to 60. - GETTY IMAGES

Shardul Thakur plays a drive en route to 60. - GETTY IMAGES

England's opening pair made a confident start after Shardul Thakur and Rishabh Pant helped India set England a target of 368 on the fourth day of the fourth Test at the Oval.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary

Haseeb Hameed (43 n.o., 85 balls) and Rory Burns (31 n.o., 109 balls) put on 77 runs in 32 overs on a placid track that showed little signs of wear and tear after Shardul (60, 72b) and Pant (50, 107b) helped India post 466 in the second innings.

With 291 required on the final day, England will fancy its chances of chasing down the target as the pitch has little on offer for the bowlers. The only bowler who made some impact when England batted in the post-tea session was Jasprit Bumrah (7-3-11-0).

However, the Indians still have their noses ahead in the game, thanks largely to the performance of the lower middle-order.


Shardul the batsman exceeded everyone's expectations once again with a second half-century in the match. He was complemented well by Pant, who finally got some runs under his belt as he showed admirable restraint and a sense of responsibility during his 100-run partnership with Thakur.

Umesh Yadav played their cameos to push the lead past the 350-run mark.

In the morning, India lost a few quick wickets to stagnate to 312 for 6 from 296 for 3, within 10 overs. It did help that the pitch became flatter as the day progressed and under bright sunshine, strokeplay became easier for both Pant and Shardul as they could hit through the line.

Shardul reinforced his value as a bowling all-rounder. His three straight drives were as good as any of the shots that his illustrious seniors Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara hit on the third day.

It was a sight to behold as he collared a slower ball from Ollie Robinson (32-7-105-2), dispatching it over long-on to reach 49. He, then, played a pull shot for a single to reach his fifty.

Shardul's approach in the second innings ensured that Pant wasn't in his usually "harakiri" mode that brought about his downfall on several occasions this summer.

The left-hander curbed his instincts to charge down the track and played according to the merit of each delivery. Only when he was in his 30s that he lofted Moeen Ali for four and once in his 40s, he charged out to slash James Anderson (33-10-79-1) over cover for a boundary.

His innings had 76 dot balls which showed that he had learned from his mistakes, but he was distraught when he failed to get the elevation to a belligerent shot he tried off Moeen Ali. He ended up handing a catch back to the bowler.

In the first session of the day, Virat Kohli (44, 96b) showed promise with his cover drives, but a beautiful slider from Moeen saw his back as his forward defensive prod found the outside edge into the slip's hands.

But amid a good batting performance, what struck like a sore thumb was vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane's another failure in what were the best batting conditions so far in the series. Having survived a strong leg-before-appeal minutes earlier, Rahane played across the line to a straight delivery from Chris Woakes (30-8-72-2) and was dismissed.

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