Chris Woakes strikes twice before Moeen Ali dismisses Virat Kohli as England keep alive their hopes of winning fourth Test… but India extend their lead to 230 at The Oval
- India reached lunch on the fourth day on 329 for six, leading England by 230
- Chris Woakes made crucial breakthrough 45 minutes in by dismissing Jadeja
- He followed that up by removing Ajinkya Rahane for a duck as India wobbled
- Captain Virat Kohli was fluid early on but was suddenly drained of confidence
- Moeen Ali removed him for 44 just before lunch to give England hope
- But India’s healthy lead means final innings chase will be a huge challenge
England kept alive their chances of winning the fourth Test as they took three crucial Indian wickets in another gripping session at The Oval.
Chris Woakes made the breakthrough by dismissing Ravindra Jadeja and then Ajinkya Rahane in quick succession before Moeen Ali took Virat Kohli’s wicket for 44 just before lunch.
It leaves India 230 ahead with Rishabh Pant and Shardul Thakur at the crease, with England looking to clean things up cheaply in the afternoon before embarking on what will doubtless be a treacherous pursuit of victory.
Chris Woakes made crucial breakthroughs for England to check India’s progress on Sunday
Moeen Ali took the important wicket of India captain Virat Kohli for 44 as England fought back
Kohli couldn’t disguise his disappointment as he became the sixth Indian wicket to fall
India started the fourth day in a position of strength knowing they had every chance of batting England out of contention under London’s sunny skies.
And for the first 45 minutes, that’s precisely what happened with Virat Kohli playing with a swagger as he dispatched James Anderson through the covers before driving Ollie Robinson down the ground.
That second stroke extended India’s lead to the brink of the 200 mark but the balance shifted back slightly once Woakes had relieved Anderson from the Pavilion End.
Woakes (right) celebrates taking the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja on the fourth morning
England soon picked up another one as Woakes struck again to remove Ajinkya Rahane
Rahane failed to score but opted not to review the LBW decision that saw him dismissed
Rahane (left) bumps fists with captain Virat Kohli after an earlier review went in his favour
Just two balls into his first spell of the day, Woakes pitched a ball in line to Jadeja, on 17, that straightened just enough off the seam to win the LBW decision on review.
Things almost got even better three balls later when new batsman Rahane was struck high on the pads by a ball that tailed back in.
Umpire Alex Wharf raised his finger but this time India’s review was a good one, the celebrations cut short as DRS showed the ball clearing the bails.
But Rahane continued to scratch around and hadn’t got off the mark when Woakes got him in his next over. A fuller and straighter delivery this time rapped the pads and would have been striking leg stump.
Woakes celebrates after dismissing Jadeja for 17 as England struck on the fourth day
Kohli turns away a shot off the bowling of James Anderson as India extended their lead
Rahane shot a worried glance to captain Kohli down the other end and the message transmitted back was clearly that it would be best to walk.
That brought the rarely-dull Rishabh Pant to the crease as India’s lead ticked past the 200 mark.
Kohli’s early abandon was lost after the two wickets fell and he seemed to retreat into survival mode as he struggled through the 40s.
He edged Craig Overton a few inches shy of slip and was trying to get through to lunch when Moeen took his edge with an off-break that carried through low to Joe Root.
It meant India reached the interval on 329 for six, a lead of 230.
The Oval was bathed in clear blue skies on a beautiful Sunday in London for the Test match
Oval ground staff repair the bowler’s landing area after feedback from Jimmy Anderson