LONDON (AP) — England was into India’s tail and on course to bowl out the tourists cheaply again by tea on the first day of the fourth test at the Oval on Thursday.
India lost three more wickets in the second session, including the big one of captain Virat Kohli soon after he reached his 27th test fifty and was looking in good shape to convert it to a century.
India was 122-6, with Rishabh Pant on 4 and Shardul Thakur — one of the four seamers picked for the match — also on 4.
Ravindra Jadeja, promoted up the order, was the first batsman to fall in a session in which the Indians scored 68 runs, when he pushed at a ball from Chris Woakes (2-19) and edged to Joe Root at slip.
Root had a wry smile on his face because two overs earlier, he put down Kohli off a delivery by Woakes that swung after taking the edge. In the end, Root barely got a touch on it.
Kohli was on 22 at that time and looking in the best shape of the series, looking solid in defense and putting away the occasional bad ball. He fell, though, for 50 and for the third time this series to Ollie Robinson, getting squared up and edging to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
Just before tea, Ajinkya Rahane (14) edged Craig Overton to third slip where Moeen Ali took a diving catch at the second attempt, scooping up the ball from near the ground.
The flamboyant Pant was already getting frustrated. On the sixth ball he faced, he went down the wicket and tried to smash Robinson down the ground, only to miss the ball.
England was justifying its choice to bowl first under an overcast sky, with all of its seamers in the wickets.
India openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma initially punished a wayward Jimmy Anderson. But after reaching 28-0 after seven overs, India lost them without adding to the total during a string of seven consecutive maidens.
Woakes’ first over in more than a year after replacing Sam Curran bagged Sharma on 11. Sharma fended and gave an edge behind to Bairstow, who was wicketkeeping for the first time since 2019 while Jos Buttler was by the side of his wife, who is due to give birth.
Rahul was then out for 17, rapped on his back pad by Robinson, who was having another impressive match with 2-24 off 16 overs.
Anderson’s second spell earned him the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara, who was looking to block but edged behind after scoring 4.
Jadeja was retained as the spinner again ahead of the more accomplished Ravichandran Ashwin with the series poised at 1-1.
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First published on: AP