England was daring to dream of a record-breaking run chase after India’s defiant lower order left the hosts hunting 368 to win the fourth test with one day left.
Joe Root’s side needs its biggest-ever fourth innings success to claim victory on Day 5 at the Oval. After watching the tourists pile up 466 all out in its second innings on an increasingly docile pitch on Sunday, that no longer looks as outlandish as it should.
Openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed gave England the perfect base to build from, sharing a chanceless stand of 77 before stumps to leave another 291 to get with all 10 wickets in hand.
All results remain possible but by far the most remarkable would be an England side somehow finding a way to score six more than their previous record pursuit — Ben Stokes’ ‘Miracle of Headingley’ in the 2019 Ashes. Former England captain Michael Atherton has predicted England’s win in the ongoing Test against India.
“It’s pretty flat, there’s not much happening, and then you look at the shape of India’s attack. No Shami, no Ishant, no Ashwin, they seemed very reliant in that first innings on Bumrah especially. How much will Jadeja have an influence? He may have an impact, (but) it’s a good pitch,” Atherton said while commentating on Sky Sports.
Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding stated that India might miss R Ashwin on a Day 5 pitch. “I don’t really see this pitch playing too many tricks. I didn’t see the England seamers create too many problems… and the India seamers I don’t expect to do much better. And Jadeja, I don’t know. I would have preferred Ashwin if you’re talking about just the bowling,” Holding said on Sky Sports.