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England vs India: Key takeaways from fourth Test at Oval

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The Indian cricket team fought back from a difficult position to pull off a stunning 157-run victory over England in the fourth Test at the Oval, and regained a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

It was India’s ninth Test win in England and the first victory at the venue in 50 years.

India have now won multiple Tests in a series in England for the second time since 1986. By doing so, they also registered their third Test win after being dismissed for 200 or less runs in the first innings of an away Test.

IND's away Test win after being bowled out for 200 and less runs in 1st innings of Test
Score Result Margin Opposition Ground
200/10 won 49 runs v West Indies Kingston
187/10 won 63 runs v South Africa Johannesburg
191/10 won 157 runs v England The Oval

The visitors were reduced to 69/4 by the 30th over of the first innings, but made a comeback of sorts thanks to skipper Virat Kohli (50 off 96 balls) and a record-breaking half-century from Shardul Thakur.

Shardul Thakur to India’s rescue in first innings

While wickets fell at regular intervals around him, Shardul, playing in his fourth Test, hit a quick-fire fifty off 31 balls to help India to 191 all out in the first innings. He became the quickest Test half-centurion for India in England and the second-fastest overall after Kapil Dev in 1982.

The 29-year-old bettered the record for fastest half-century in Test matches in England by breaking Ian Botham’s previously held record of a 32-ball fifty against New Zealand in 1986.

Furthermore, Shardul Thakur is just the fourth Indian batsman to score fifties in both innings of a Test while batting at positions between 8-11.

Indian to score fifty plus runs in both innings of the Test at Position #8-#11
Player 1st Innings 2nd innings Runs Opposition Ground
Harbhajan Singh 69 115 184 v New Zealand Ahmedabad
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 58 63* 121 v England Nottingham
Wriddhiman Saha 54* 58* 112 v New Zealand Kolkata
Shardul Thakur 57 60 117 v England The Oval

Rohit Sharma’s snaps away ton drought

India’s batting response in the second innings was an example of their never-say-die attitude, and a certain Rohit Sharma led from the front. The opener ended his drought of 47 Test innings for a maiden century away from home.

While his knock of 127 runs was his eighth Test ton of his career, Rohit Sharma has now hit five Test centuries since being promoted to the opening position in the red-ball cricket in 2019.

Most Test tons by openers in Tests since 2019
Player Matches Runs 100s
Rohit Sharma (INDIA) 16 1460 5
Dimuth Karunaratne (SL) 16 1261 4
Abid Ali (PAK) 14 917 3
Mayank Agarwal (INDIA) 12 887 3
Rory Burns (ENG) 26 1557 3
Tom Latham (NZ) 18 1103 3
Shan Masood (PAK) 12 685 3
David Warner (AUS) 12 948 3

Rohit, who has now amassed 3000 runs in Tests, also registered the most three-digit scores across all formats in England, going past Rahul Dravid. Only legendary Australian batsman Don Bradman (11) has more hundreds among visiting batsmen in England than Rohit.

Most Hundreds by Indian across formats in England
Player Matches Runs Average 100s
Rohit Sharma 39 2070 54.47 9
Rahul Dravid 46 2645 55.10 8
Sachin Tendulkar 43 2626 49.54 7

Apart from playing a splendid knock, Rohit Sharma found quality support in Cheteshwar Pujara as they stitched a 153-run stand for the second wicket. It was the joint-third best second-wicket stand for an Indian Test pairing in England.

Top 5 second wicket stand for India in England
Partners Runs Ground Start Date
Sanjay Bangar, Rahul Dravid 170 Leeds 22 August 2002
Farokh Engineer, Ajit Wadekar 168 Leeds 08 June 1967
Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar 153 The Oval 30 August 1979
Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma 153 The Oval 02 September 2021
Rahul Dravid, Dinesh Karthik 127 The Oval 09 August 2007

Jasprit Bumrah cut through England

If the Indian batsmen set the ball rolling for a spectacular win at the Oval, the bowlers did their part by putting on strong finishing touches to the performance. Jasprit Bumrah, India’s leading pacer in recent years, became the quickest Indian fast bowler to 100 Test wickets.

Fastest to 100 Test wickets by Indian Pacer
Bowler Matches
Jasprit Bumrah 24
Kapil Dev 25
Irfan Pathan 28
Mohammed Shami 29
Javagal Srinath 30

Bumrah’s spell on the final day, in particular, will be remembered by many for years. As India looked to cut through England’s middle order, Bumrah answered the call in spectacular fashion. 

He rattled the stumps with searing pace and a little bit of reverse as the likes of Jonny Bairstow and Ollie Pope were left searching for answers in front of the Indian pace ace.

Featured photo: AFP / Glyn Kirk

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