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England vs India, 4th Test Day 4: Shardul Thakur, Rishabh Pant hit fifties to set a target of 368 for England

London, Sep 5: Riding on brilliant half-centuries from Rishabh Pant and Shardul Thakur and vital contributions from the tailenders, India on Sunday (September 5) went on posting their highest ever total on this tour of England as the visitors posted 466 in their second innings on day four of the fourth Test at the Oval.

After India's middle-order failed to score runs in the morning session, Pant and Thakur stitched a century partnership between them to help their team take a sizeable lead of 367 runs in their second innings.

England now have a daunting task of chasing 368 runs to win the game on a pitch that looks good for batting. However, the hosts have never chased a target of 360 or more in their entire Test cricket history.

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Thakur - who slammed a sensational half century in the first innings and helped India post 191 in their first innings - started from where he left as he notched up back-to-back fifty in the match.

Like his previous innings, Thakur's innings was laced with brilliant cover drives, straight drives, and backfoot punches - which even put some of the top-order batsmen a stiff challenge. Shardul's knock of 60 off 72 deliveries was laced with seven boundaries and a six and became the ninth batsman to score a fifty in both the innings of a Test match batting at number eight or below.

Pant - who struggled with the bat in the series - showed better intent and went on notching up his first fifty of the tour. Pant - who was getting dismissed playing rash strokes on the tour - showed composure and curbed his natural instincts to score the slowest half-century of his career.

The southpaw took 105 deliveries to get to his seventh fifty in Test cricket. With his fifty completed and Thakur's dismissal, Pant decided to take on the offensive against England bowlers but was dismissed by Moeen Ali as the off-spinner took a sharp return catch to end his innings.

Later, Jasprit Bumrah (25) and Umesh Yadav (24) also played some good strokes to help their side go past 450-run mark. Finally, English bowlers took the wickets of Bumrah and Umesh soon after the tea break and ended the Indian innings for 466.

Earlier in the day, England bowlers came back strongly on day four of the fourth Test as they picked up three wickets in the morning session at the Oval. The fall of three wickets ensured the England bowlers pulled things back and kept themselves in the game with some disciplined bowling effort.

Chris Woakes - who remained wicketless in the second innings - gave the hosts back-to-back breakthroughs on day four as he dismissed Ravindra Jadeja and Ajinkya Rahane in two overs and pushed Team India on the backfoot.

Woakes first trapped Jadeja in front and ended the left-handed batsman's innings for 17. Jadeja went upstairs to review it but in vain. The Saurashtra batsman - who was promoted at number five in both the innings of the Oval Test - failed to impress with the bat as he could make a contribution of 10 and 17 runs in the game.

After Jadeja's dismissal, Team India's regular face at number five - Ajinkya Rahane - walked into the middle at number six. The right-handed batsman - who has been under tremendous pressure due to lean patch - once again disappointed with the bat. In the very next over bowled by Woakes, Rahane was found plumb in front and was dismissed for a duck.

But the biggest moment of the session came in Moeen Ali's hands as the spinner dismissed India captain Kohli for 44. Kohli looked set for a well-deserved half-century but a little lapse of concentration against the spinner cost the Indian captain his wicket. Kohli - who played some brilliant shots against England pacers - was caught at slip cordon by Craig Overton and it was the eleventh occasion when he was dismissed by Ali in Test cricket.

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Story first published: Sunday, September 5, 2021, 21:36 [IST]
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