IND vs ENG 2021: 4th Test, The Oval
From a lot of boxes to tick, one important box was openers not losing their wicket overnight. And India has been successful in it. Rohit and Rahul survived 16 overs scoring 43 runs, defending well, and not giving away their wicket.
The match has been very interesting and evenly balanced till now. Two days of play is over. And if India wants to win this match, their batsmen need to step up.
Whenever the batsmen have stepped up in the series, India has either won or saved the match. India’s highest score of 364 came at Lord’s and India won that match. Many cricket experts emphasize regularly how important a 350+ score is in overseas conditions. England did that in Headingley, and they won that match so comfortably, with a huge margin. So, the same is expected from Indian batsmen now because the conditions at The Oval now are best for batsmen. Historically too, The Oval ground is considered best for batting and has witnessed huge scores being piled up by the top order batsmen itself.
It must be accepted that batting against the new ball in the opening session won’t be easy for the openers. But that’s how the series will continue. So, if the Indian batsmen are able to tackle that first half-hour of the opening session, well then, we might be able to see a huge score on the board. Indian batsmen need to target 350 at least. And if they score beyond 400 then the match will be fully in the hands of the Indian team.
So, the whole responsibility of carrying the team forward will be on the shoulders of the Indian batsmen. The middle-order hasn’t contributed much in the series so far. Rishab Pant is playing half-hearted shots and losing his wicket in soft dismissals. An odd 61 came from Rahane at Lord’s but that’s the only contribution made by him. Shardul Thakur stepped up in this match and proved that his selection was an excellent decision. Since this pitch is most suitable for batsmen, we can hope that Rahane and Pant find their touch again and contribute to the team individually as batsmen too.
However, a lot of work depends on the top order and especially the openers. Since it’s the openers who have contributed to the whole series so far, and India would expect them to do it again. So, all the Indian fans must be hoping that today’s day that is, Day 3 of the match, will belong to the Indian batsmen.