The fourth Test between India and England at the Oval is evenly-poised at the lunch interval on Day 5. England need to knock off another 237 runs and India require eight wickets, if either is to go 2-1 up in the series. Surprisingly, the pitch at the Oval is still good for batting, and with a flat deck on offer, it promises to be a stiff challenge for India and their bowlers.
Still, Ollie Pope, England’s highest individual scorer in the first innings, has picked two Indian bowlers, whom he feels could make life dangerous for England. Virat Kohli has gone ahead in this Test with four fast bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav – and one spinner in Ravindra Jadeja, and Pope reckons two of them could give England a tough time on Day 5.
“Jadeja is obviously going to pose us a threat, especially the lefties with that rough outside their off stump and I’m sure he’ll come over the wicket to us right-handers a fair bit as well. They’ve got a highly skilled attack as well, they’ve got bowlers who are used to bowling on pretty good wickets out in India so they know how they’re going to approach it so guys like Bumrah will pose a threat as well,” Pope told Sky Sports prior to the start of the fifth day.
As for how England promise to approach the innings, Pope explained that the plan will be to take it step by step. As always, irrespective of how bland the pitch is, the first hour is going to be crucial for both teams and Pope expects England – who had reached 77/0 at stumps on Day 4 – to carry it on.
“The first aim for us is to get through that first session, it’s a quick scoring ground so you can always catch up. But for that first session it is all about getting ourselves in and getting that platform to allow us to hopefully chase that score later in the day,” Pope added.