A deflating defeat in the third Test at Leeds seemed to be a prolonged one. In the fourth Test as well, Indian batsmen were in tatters after India were put into bat by Joe Root. Once again, the middle order was a big failure and in back-to-back innings Virat Kohli failed to convert his half-century. However, they were saved from humiliation as Shardul Thakur bailed them out with a cameo with the bat. Chris Woakes topped the wickets list with four wickets and Oliver Robinson was once again among the wickets with three.
Indian bowlers compensated with three wickets that included the big fish, Root. With 138 runs to trail and Root back in the hut, India have a shot at bowling England out cheaply. Before that, here are a few noteworthy stats from the first day:
Kohli becomes the fastest to 23k international runs
Kohli might be going through a lean patch at present, but before this, he has amassed so many runs that he is already a super star with the bat. Heading into the fourth Test, Kohli was one run short of registering 23000 international runs. With a sublime drive down the ground against his fierce rival James Anderson, Kohli became the fastest man to register the milestone. He is the only one to achieve it within 500 innings.
Most 50+ by an Asian captain in England
In the last two innings, Kohli has somewhat looked like he is back to his old self. However, the impatience has been witnessed after him reaching his half-century. Irrespective of that, Kohli became the best Asian captain in terms of 50+ scores in England. Kohli has five half-centuries and two centuries in England, which comprises seven 50+ scores. No other Asian captain has had more than him, surpassing his predecessor, MS Dhoni’s tally of six.
Thakur’s blistering knock
It has become a regular sight in this series to see Indian lower order batters scoring runs. In the Lord’s Test, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami put on an unbeaten 89-run stand to bail out India. In this match, Thakur took things into his own hands and single handedly saved India from ignominy. Thakur smashed a 31-ball half-century which became the second fastest for an Indian and the fastest for a batsman on English soil. Only Kapil Dev has a quicker half-century than Thakur for India. As for a batsman on English soil, he broke Sir Ian Botham’s 32-ball half century against New Zealand in 1986 at the same venue.
Most wickets on first day since 1983
The Oval has been a good batting deck in recent times. An average score of 358 in the first innings since 2015 prior to this Test is proof of it. But, that wasn’t the case in this match. India were bundled out for 191 and England at the far end of the day lost three more wickets. In total, 13 wickets were lost on the day. The last time 13 wickets fell on the first day of an Oval Test was in 1983 between England and New Zealand.
Lower middle order and tail enders, neck-to-neck
A rarity in the 2018 tour has become regularity in the 2021 tour. India’s tail wasn’t able to make the slightest of impacts in the previous tour. But, this tour they are almost neck-to-neck with the lower middle batsmen. In the four matches played India’s batting order 5-7 have scored 348 runs at 19.3 with two half-centuries. On the other hand, India’s 8-10 have scored 239 runs at an average of 17.1 with the same number of fifties.