After a dramatic fifth day finish at the Oval, India ended its 50 year wait to win at the venue against England, with a 157 run victory. The team’s last win at the historic grounds was way back in 1971, by four wickets, under the leadership of Ajit Wadekar. The team first played at the Oval in 1936 but lost the test by 9 wickets.
Kohli’s men came into the fourth test with a defeat in hands at Headingley. With a strong bowling attack on the already trembling batting order by the British bowlers, India was all out for 190. The English team had a 99 run lead on the second day before India finally worked out its batting order, as Rohit Sharma’s brilliant 127 put the team back in the running for a win.
Aided by Pujara’s 61, and Kohli’s 44 and a lower- order action from Pant (50) and Thakur (60), Indian batsmen set England up for a 368 run chase.
The final day began with England in need of 291 runs to pull off a win. With openers Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns at the crease, the British batsmen were clueless on what was about to come their way. India’s fast bowlers harmonised a victory, out-bowling and out-thinking the British players.
At perhaps the flattest track outside the sub-continent, it is a glittering achievement that the team emerged as a pace-powerhouse without compromising it’s spin riches. This is collectively India’s best bowling attack, ever.
With Umesh Yadav emerging as the deadliest paceman in the first innings, he burst through the defenses of Joe Root, a man who was batting on the pitch like a dream. Shradul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj’s energy and intensity kept the English batsmen under pressure when wickets were hard to bargain. And then there was Jasprit Bumrah, the centrepiece of this attack, completing the puzzle and becoming the fastest bowler to score 100 test wickets.
Indian bowlers chipped away despite a flat wicket and wrapped up the day with a 2-1 lead in the five-test series. The final test is scheduled at Old Trafford.