The visitors bowled England out for 290 runs after taking a 99-run advantage on Day 2 of the Oval test. With Rohit Sharma (20*) and KL Rahul (22*) in the middle, India reached 43/0 at stumps on Friday in their second innings.
Match Report – Day 2 of Oval Test
England took a 99-run first-innings advantage at The Oval thanks to Ollie Pope and Chris Woakes, who produced their first Test fifties in a year, before India’s openers, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, almost halved the deficit by seeing out the second day.
The Host had lost two wickets for nine runs at the start of the second day at Oval . Still, Pope’s fluency in partnerships with Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali carried them into the lead, and Woakes – batting at No. 9 after England had used a nigh watchman – added to it by attacking the old ball.
Umesh Yadav had bowled Joe Root late in the first evening with one of the best deliveries of the series, and he continued where he left off with a probing spell on the second morning. Umesh Yadav, with his fourth delivery of the day, removed Craig Overton, the night watchman.
As India’s change bowlers, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur, struggled for consistency, Bairstow and Pope soon mounted a counterattack. Before lunch, Thakur gave Pope four consecutive boundaries (one via the pad), while Siraj gave up three in a row, with both hitters scoring on the opposite side of the wicket, adding 77 runs.
Nobody knows why Siraj switched from an upright seam position to a scrambling seam during this series. It has harmed his natural swing, which served the pacer so well last winter in Australia.
Siraj got seam movement in the first two Tests, which were played on spicy surfaces. Because the ball didn’t do much off the surface at Headingley and the Oval, he looked pedestrian, bowling around 130kph.
He made one jag back after lunch to catch Bairstow leg-before, but such deliveries were rare.
England’s Jonny Bairstow has trapped lbw for the third time in three games against India. He has developed a vulnerability against the nip-backer after making changes to his batting stance.
When Pope made a brilliant maiden century in Port Elizabeth in early 2020, he was widely hailed as England’s most promising young batter, but he has struggled in the 18 months since. He started this series out of the side due to injury, but his poor form meant that he was not rushed back in when fit.
This was his first Test on his home field, where he averages well over 100 in first-class cricket for Surrey, and his switch back to a middle-stump guard after spending the summer batting on off appeared to pay off.
Moeen battled for the same fluidity, but his innings was littered with boundaries, the best of which was Umesh’s blast through the covers.
He was handed an unexpected life early on when he dug out a Jasprit Bumrah yorker that was verified by replays to have struck his boot first and would have crashed into his leg stump if India had not appealed.
He gave his wicket away quickly, aiming a down-the-ground hoick off Ravindra Jadeja that ballooned out for a routine catch at cover by Rohit Sharma. Soon after tea, Pope was bowled for 81, drawing a wide outswinger from Thakur onto his stumps, and Jadeja dismissed slog-sweeping Ollie Robinson for 5, leaving England nine down.
Woakes, on the other hand, frustrated India by adding 35 runs for the last wicket with Anderson. He played with an uncharacteristically aggressive attacking mindset, flashing drives past cover and tugging through the leg side before running himself out trying to marshal the strike.
England struggled to create chances with the new ball as Rohit and Rahul held firm, but one option went begging: Anderson got Rohit’s outside edge, but Burns failed to pick up the ball at second slip and watched it sail past him.