England v India: Ollie Pope and Chris Woakes star on hard-fought day

Fourth LV= Insurance test, the Kia Oval (day 2 of five) India 191(Thakur 56, Woakes 4-55) and 43-0 (Rahul22*) England 290. India is 56 runs behind Scorecard
Ollie Pope scored 81 runs and Chris Woakes 51, but England's fourth Test against India is still in a tantalizing position after a second day of play at The Kia Oval.

Pope returned after missing the first three Tests and added 89 with Jonny Barstow (who made 37) and shared 71 avec Moeen Ali (whose contribution was 35).

Woakes returned to the side after more then a year absence. He smashed 45 to complete his 4-55 and take England's total to 290.

India had just over an hour left to bat. Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and KL Rama took the tourists to 43-0, reducing the deficit to 56.

Rohit could have been captured by Rory Burns but Anderson did not give him an edge and he didn't get the chance.

Each side will head into the weekend knowing that they have a chance to win 2-1 with just one remaining Test.

Balance between series and test

After another day of arm wrestling, this series is still in balance.

India might have harbored hopes of a first innings lead by reducing England's score to 62-5, compared to their 53-3 overnight. However, Pope kept them away.

England's attempt to take complete control of the match was thwarted by poor decisions by Moeen, just as India looked demoralised. Woakes then reversed the momentum, with India trailing at 64 after the ninth wicket fell.

India is being weighed down by the weight of history. This ground has not seen a team overcome such a huge deficit since 1902.

The pitch is ideal for batting, however, England received less support than England when they beat India for 191 on Day 1.

One moment of stupidity was caught in the midst of all the exciting cricket. After colliding with England's batsman Bairstow, a man who had entered the field during the second and third Tests was again seen here.

England's selections do it again

England have recalled Haseeb Haeed, Dawid Malan and Craig Overton in this series. Each played a role in Headingley's win. Pope and Woakes now mark their return with key contributions.

Pope was playing his 20th Test on The Oval, his home ground. He averages just below 100 runs in first-class cricket.

He arrived in the second half of the day, and England was soon in serious trouble. He counter-attacked with Bairstow who played silky drives with crisp clips. He settled down to a steady accumulation later.

Pope was 50 in nine Tests, and appeared primed to score a second hundred. Shardul Thakur, however, was not impressed. Woakes was left with Anderson after Ollie Robinson was recklessly bowled at Ravindra Jadeja.

Anderson arrived with Woakes' 18th birthday. Anderson swung through the offside and muscled through his leg side to score 11 fours in a half-century of 58-ball.

Woakes tried to run out to the wicketkeeper to get a run that would have allowed him keep the strike. This ended a wild last-wicket stand in which England scored faster than a run per ball.

India hang in

India could have been eliminated from the game on day one when their lead was 123-7, but they have continued to fight to remain in the series.

Although Umesh Yadav (pace bowler) and Jasprit Bumrah were both excellent in the morning, there were times when England was batting well in the afternoon. It would have been beneficial to have Ravichandran Ashwin available for a quick spin.

Moeen may have been lbw on Bumrah 14 but no one appealed. Captain Virat Kohli was furious when the umpires asked for the ball to be changed just before tea.

India started their second innings knowing that a score of over 300 would put them under serious pressure. However, they persevered and were able to use some wickets from England.

They were buoyed when Burns failed to spot Rohit's edge from Anderson in the second slip. Burns was unable to react when the ball flew past Anderson's shin, England's fifth miss chance of the match.

England was more than grateful to India for its peaceful progress towards the end of the day.

India in the boxseat

Michael Vaughan, former England captain: "If we go back to yesterday 13 wickets fell. Today, there have been only seven wickets and that is a sign that the pitch is improving.

"It will prove to be a great day for batting tomorrow. This India batting lineup should be able to perform to the level we know it can.

"The pitch will tell your that you should bat all the day tomorrow. They'll probably score at least three runs per over so there will be 250 runs available. This would give them a lead of 200 runs going into day four. It would be very exciting.


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