India face a steep target to chase with 9 Wickets in hand against England!
Galatta | Feb 08, 2021, 07:40 pm
Having finished Day 3 on 257/6, India had Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar walking on to the field on the morning of Day 4, with a huge task in hand. Their very first uphill task would have been to take India to 379, to avoid the follow-on! Indian rearguard efforts are becoming something of a very common occurrence nowadays and so it was not unusual when Ashwin and Washington set forth their job industriously! The two batsmen at the crease saw off the crucial first hour of the morning without losing any Wickets but the Englishmen remained as alert in the field as they have been from Day 3 and an athletic Buttler picked up a catch from Ravichandran Ashwin off Jack Leach's bowling to send him back to the pavillion after a hard fought 31, reducing India to 305/7! Leach next took out Shahbaz Nadeem for a Duck, with India having added just 5 runs to their total. Meanwhile, the enterprising Washington had gotten to his half-century, in his very first Test match on home soil!
Unfortunately for Washington, he was running out of partners but that did not dampen his scoring rate, which he kept going. Anderson returned to mop up the tailenders - Ishant Sharma (4) and Jasprit Bumrah (Duck). Much to Washington Sundar's father's chagrin, he was unable to get a Century in his second Test too, as he had run out of partners. India had also fallen short of the 379 to avoid the follow-on but their recent adventures in Australia must have been playing out on the English captain's mind, as he did not enforce it! The Englishmen would have also been wary of having to bat 4th on a rapidly deteriorating Chepauk pitch and not asked India to follow on! Dom Bess was the pick of the English bowlers, having picked up 4 Wickets, while Leach, Archer and Anderson picked up 2 each! The English openers would have been surprised when they came out to bat, for India had decided to open their bowling with spinners! Ashwin came on to bowl the first Over and struck with the first ball to send back Rory Burns for a Golden Duck!
India opened with their other spinner - Nadeem, from the opposite end. Ashwin enjoyed further success when he got Dom Sibley to a good catch by Pujara at leg slip! England had slipped to 32/2 before Ishant Sharma got Dan Lawrence for 18 and Ashwin returned to pick up Ben Stokes for 7 to reduce England to 71/4! However, Root seemed set for another huge score and had raced away to 40 off just 31 balls, before Bumrah was brough back on and produced the Wicket off a ball which kept very low! Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler showed some urgency but at the same time, looked to play out some overs and had begun rebuilding when Nadeem prised out both of them but not before the lead had already gone past 400! Dom Bess looked to be settling in, before Ashwin came on to pick the last 3 English wickets and wrap up their innings for 178. Ashwin had picked an innings tally of 6 Wickets and England had set India a mammoth target of 420 to win the match. India had to negotiate a tricky period of play towards the end of Day 4 and they managed it with the loss of just 1 Wicket, that of Rohit Sharma for 12, having been bowled to a peach of a delivery by Leach. India finished Day 4 on 39/1 and will further need 381 more runs in about 90 Overs to win on Day 5 while England need just 9 more Wickets. The pitch has been deteriorating rapidly but has not been playing any major tricks yet. The game is still open for all 3 possible results, not taking a Tie into consideration! Stay tuned for reports from a nailbiting final day of the first Test!