Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed's unbeaten opening stand of 77 runs has set up a fascinating final day at The Oval.
Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja got off to a steady start in the morning, ticking some runs away to slowly increase India's lead. The two opening bowlers — Ollie Robinson and James Anderson failed to make any sort of impact, not generating any lateral movement from the pitch.
It was the introduction of Chris Woakes into the attack, which would turn things around for the hosts. He first trapped Jadeja in front of the stumps on 17, to break the vital partnership. Ajinkya Rahane, out of form in the series, had an early reprieve as he successfully reviewed an lbw call. But his luck wouldn't last long, as it was Woakes again to deliver the breakthrough, as he trapped the Indian vice-captain in front of his stumps for a duck.
Kohli and Pant would take India's lead past the 200-run mark while taking the score over 300. But they had a mighty task on their hands, in order to ensure that India posted a score for England, which would be nigh impossible to chase down.
After looking well set, India lost the wicket of skipper Kohli to Moeen Ali as he edged a straighter delivery to the first slip. Pant, joined by Shardul Thakur, took India into lunch at 329/6, with a lead of 230 runs. The match was wide open and the following session would prove to be vital in turning the tide in favour of a particular team.
Lunch at The Oval 🍲— ICC (@ICC) September 5, 2021
England have scalped three wickets, including the big one of Virat Kohli, and have given away just 59 runs in the first session.
What does the next session have in store for us? 👀#WTC23 | #ENGvIND | https://t.co/zRhnFiKhzZ pic.twitter.com/4TNOZcOVBM
In the second session, Thakur and Pant embarked on a brilliant partnership that would tire out the English bowlers. Their stand crossed the 100-run mark, and they played some glorious shots. Thakur in particular looked in brilliant form, carrying on from his run in the first innings.
He brought up his third Test half-century, easily swatting away the English pacers. This led to Joe Root bringing himself in the attack and the decision paid back handsomely, as Thakur edged one to the slips to finally be dismissed after a well-made 60.
Rishabh Pant would also bring up his half-century, his first one of the series, before immediately being caught and bowled by Moeen Ali. But the pair had done their job, ensuring that India's lead had crossed the 300-run mark.
Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav would then add further salt to the English wounds ahead of tea, with their 31-run stand. India ended the session on 445/8, leading the hosts by 346 runs.
Bumrah was dismissed by Woakes in the second over after the break for 24. Yadav added a couple of boundaries to his name before Overton wrapped up India's innings on 466, setting England a target of 368.
With little movement on offer for the pacers, Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed looked at ease at the start of the fourth innings and saw off the new ball. Though Jadeja did manage to extract turn off the rough, the openers weren't particularly troubled by it.
With the 77-run unbeaten stand, Burns and Hameed survived the tricky period and took the team through to stumps without losing a wicket.
The hosts will go into the final day still needing 291 runs to win the game.
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