England v India – 4th Test 4th Day – I Am A Little Bit Insecure, A Little Unconfident

It’s taken me a while today to arrive at a song lyric for the title. I was looking for songs about optimism, but that wouldn’t be right. Songs about hope? No. Let’s go for something about being let down and not getting your hopes up. It was either that or a song about roads….

I’ve not paid a huge amount of attention to the test match, if truth be told. I’ve spent a good part of the week in Yorkshire, an absolutely lovely part of the world, and just dipped in and out of the TMS commentary. At one point on my last day up there I visited the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, and they had a lovely bar there with the cricket on. The wife and border collie were in the car, so there was no way I could delay any more than I had to. At that stage England were staging the first innings comeback from 60-odd for 5 and the commentators were making a point that someone was going to make a hundred on this surface, and that could be the winning contribution. It remains to be seen if Rohit has done the required for the prophecy to come true.

As this is the last day before returning to work (and so the Happy Song definitely doesn’t apply) I’ve been from pillar to post today before reverting to the norm. So I just dipped in and out of the Indian innings. England needed a sharp start, but didn’t really get it, but did have a decent morning session in the end – if that makes sense. Removing Jadeja and Rahane (who you feel must now be on India’s hot seat) in quick succession to LBW decisions for Chris Woakes certainly helped. Removing Kohli soon after that, nicking to Overton at first slip off Ali brought the one danger of all things going awry – Rishabh Pant, who made his first test century here last time around, taking over. But there was a little bit more circumspection (all things are relative here).

England may have seen some light that the chase could be around 250-280, but Pant and Thakur put on a century partnership to take India past 400, and making the prospective chase look more formidable by the minute. Thakur completed another rambunctious half century, while Pant took more time about his. Some late order thrashing about took India up to 466 and set England 368 to win – a record, should they get there, for all tests to take over the record set just two years ago at Headingley. But again, hope is a dangerous thing.

“Handful of complaints, but I can’t help the fact that everyone can see these scars”

This is not a vintage England line-up, but the decision not to pick Ravi Ashwin looks like as flawed a selection as England’s ability to compile major scores. The pitch is clearly playing very well. Haseeb came out on a pair, but got off the mark quickly. Burns coped with early pressure outside off stump from Jadeja, but this isn’t a spinning top, more a flat top. The openers accumulated, looked busy between the wickets, hit the bad balls for runs, and established a decent platform. Hell, it was like old school test cricket. It was, in its own way, gripping. The edge of the precipice at all times, waiting for the chop on, the one that creeps, the one error of judgement. But 50 passed and no real alarms, save a bump ball that really wasn’t on review. As time crept past 6:30, play continued, because if you lose some on a previous day you can make it up, but if you lose it on the same day because overs haven’t been bowled, you can’t. Siraj coughed up a couple of leg glance boundaries for Hameed, and then, in a trait seen throughout the test, a hopeless review meant Kohli and the lads are one down on that score. England finished on 77 for 0. Game on. Well played to them both.

If yesterday was moving day, the movement was slow but very well organised and put together in the gloom. Today, under bright stars, and tortured analogies, India may well have taken residence, but eviction orders can be revoked tomorrow. Tomorrow’s scribe gets the glory, because this game is going to be won by either side, as a draw looks less likely to me. 290 in a day is not insurmountable – and a test series win is really on the line. The old cliche that it will be a vital first hour is as appropriate, and as tired, as always.

And tomorrow, I return to work. Sigh.

Comments below for tomorrow’s play and anything that raised interest today.


27 thoughts on “England v India – 4th Test 4th Day – I Am A Little Bit Insecure, A Little Unconfident

  1. Tony Bennett Sep 5, 2021 / 7:59 pm

    I was surprised to find that Shardul Thakur has a first class batting average of 16 and a career best of 67. He made batting look pretty easy, admittedly on a surface similar to the M1. Then I checked Umesh Yadav and he averages 14, but has a career best of 128*. In this series the Indian “tail” – and Bumrah certainly belongs in that category – have embarrassed England considerably. I have horrible visions of Moeen Ali bowling to Starc and Cummins at Sydney where it used to spin, and being carted. But that’s another story.

    Is it actually too late to bring Jack Leach into the XI for Old Trafford?


    • OscarDaBosca Sep 5, 2021 / 8:52 pm

      No, just as it is odd that India haven’t picked Ashwin, the absence of Leach needs to be rectified. Ironically whomever loses will probably pick the missing spinner for Old Trafford


  2. Sean Sep 5, 2021 / 8:11 pm

    I was there today and I admit I’ve massively missed Test matches at the Oval. Far more enjoyable than Lords. Bumped into Ali Martin at Tea and we all thought England looked cooked, so for Burns and Hameed to finish unbeaten deserves a fair amount of credit.

    Only grumble, £6.80 for a pint of IPA is absolutely outrageous. That’s more than a quid more than Lords.


    • Tony Bennett Sep 5, 2021 / 8:21 pm

      It’s an astonishing rip-off, but then look at the ticket prices. When I was a Surrey member in the late 70s you could get London Pride for 50p. Or perhaps less. That would be about £2.60 in today’s money. And for £38 annual Surrey membership you could watch the Test Match for precisely nothing, and sit in the pavilion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tony Bennett Sep 5, 2021 / 8:36 pm

        That reminds me, in 1979 I was at all five days of the England v India Test at the Oval. This was the 4th and final Test. If we want an indication of how the game has changed, only consider that India were set 438 to win, and went for it. At the close of play on the 4th day they were 76 for 0, almost on a par with England today. They finished on 429 for 8, with Sunil Gavaskar scoring 221, which to this day is the greatest Test innings I’ve ever seen.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Sep 5, 2021 / 9:19 pm

      £6.80 for a pint is ludicrous. A pound cheaper than Lords. You could buy a four pack in the supermarket for the same and they are still making a profit.

      I remember when a pint was 46p then £48p and then 50p a pint. When it got to 52p pint and you couldn’t get two pints for a pound God people complained. I know, Old git memories. Still find it funny looking back. Can’t imagine if you had told people then they would be paying £6.80

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Sep 5, 2021 / 9:22 pm

        It was the chief moan I had after the Royal London game where the Yardbird IPA was the same price – £6.80. I see for the test they bumped up the price for the Praha lager which I feel sure was £5.80 for the Royal London.


        • Mark Sep 5, 2021 / 9:30 pm

          Perhaps they want to discourage people from drinking at the game! Somehow I doubt it.

          I’m trying to remember how much I paid for a pint in Cardiff back in the ICC 50 over event between England vs New Zealand a few years ago. It was no where near £6.80. More like half that.


  3. Mark Sep 5, 2021 / 8:26 pm

    You have to give credit to England’s openers. Yes I know it’s a flat track now but this is not a confident team, and the two players are still playing for their own careers. Added to which they were in the field for nearly two days.

    Realistically with the new ball seen off and wickets in hand England should at least save the game. Unless the pitch changes tomorrow or starts taking spin. However England’s still have to score at a decent rate to win the match. If they lose wickets chasing they could get in to problems.

    So I will take a gamble and say neither team will win and it ends in a draw. Perhaps England hanging on forty short.


    • Metatone Sep 5, 2021 / 8:47 pm

      Draw looks favourite on this pitch to me. Too flat for an India win, but conceding 290 in a day should be something they can avoid. Test cricket still has quite a few ways to slow the scoring.


      • Mark Sep 5, 2021 / 9:24 pm

        If they need a hundred in the last session with wickets in hand they may go for it. But as you say India can slow it down. I hope it doesn’t end controversially with 11 overs an hour and playing for bad light.

        I would still put an England win as the least likely of the three main results.


  4. dlpthomas Sep 6, 2021 / 3:28 am

    Not as song I was familiar with so I “googled it” – lyrics are brilliant.

    I was nervous about how England would bat so I agree with Mark, you have to give the openers a lot of credit – lets just hope than can kick on tody.


  5. Miami Dad's Six Sep 6, 2021 / 8:10 am

    One of those today where England can’t retreat into a shell too early. If they can score some runs in the first hour it’ll be Kohli getting twitchy and defensive, but if for India there’s no chance of a loss in the second session they can get men around the bat for Jadeja to pile the pressure on. Surely at some point it’ll start losing some of the top surface and become tricky to bat on?


  6. dArthez Sep 6, 2021 / 12:02 pm

    Given how placid the pitch is, I’d actually be surprised if England don’t win this. India basically need 9 more jaffas.

    Yes, I know fourth innings and all that, but the wicket behaves as if it was a Day 2 wicket.


    • Miami Dad's Six Sep 6, 2021 / 1:09 pm

      I think you’re forgetting how dumb England cricketers can be. Malan and Hameed have just combined for a shocker. Unnecessary stuff, a last day mental meltdown, yep we are ECB United.


      • dArthez Sep 6, 2021 / 1:31 pm

        Valid point. That was a completely unnecessary runout. The problem AND opportunity for India is that Root, Bairstow, Pope, Moeen are all stroke makers.

        Hameed and Burns did really well. Proper Test match batting in the fourth innings. I guess it has been a while since both openers scored 50s in the fourth innings for England. They did so in Dhaka 2016 (and the wheels truly came off after the opening partnership), and before that at the Oval in 2008, against South Africa. That is, it was just the fifth time since 1980 (!) for England to achieve 2 fifties in the fourth innings by both openers.

        I don’t believe India have 100 more than needed. We’ll see how the second session goes.


        • dlpthomas Sep 6, 2021 / 2:10 pm

          Not too well so far………….


          • dlpthomas Sep 6, 2021 / 2:16 pm

            not too well at all.


        • dArthez Sep 6, 2021 / 2:21 pm

          Okay, I’ll take the blame for this. I had to mention Dhaka 2016, the last time that both England openers got a 50 in the fourth innings.


    • Marek Sep 6, 2021 / 1:14 pm

      India have probably got a hundred runs to spare…:!


      • Tony Bennett Sep 6, 2021 / 1:35 pm

        It’s not just the absence of Stokes that makes this different from Headingley 2019. On that occasion England had to win to keep a chance of regaining the Ashes. No such motivation here. I expect Jadeja to prise a few out during the afternoon and there will be big pressure to survive.


      • Marek Sep 6, 2021 / 2:25 pm

        …or maybe 150…:


  7. dArthez Sep 6, 2021 / 3:22 pm

    Thakur did not bowl that well in the first innings, but two important breakthroughs by him (Burns and now Root).

    Should be a shoe-in for MOM. Yes, I know others batted better or got more wickets. But in both innings he contributed in a vital manner.


    • Miami Dad's Six Sep 6, 2021 / 3:55 pm

      Thakur took the Indian 1st day from being a shambles to being “in the game”, the 2nd day he got Pope out just as he and Woakes were just starting to edge England too far ahead in the game, the 4th day his knock took it from a 50/50 game to advantage India, and today he’s nabbed Burns when nothing was happening for any of the bowlers, and Root – the best batsman.

      To sum up: they’ll give it to Woakes or Rohit.


      • dArthez Sep 6, 2021 / 5:08 pm

        Rohit got it. Barely scored more runs than Thakur throughout the match, did not take any wickets (or field much in the fourth innings) and did not keep India in the game on Day 1.

        Whoever awards MOMs is ripe for management for the England team. Do not have a clue on what actually matters in a cricket match.


  8. dlpthomas Sep 6, 2021 / 3:44 pm

    That was both predictable and really hard to watch.


    • Miami Dad's Six Sep 6, 2021 / 4:00 pm

      Today’s been a great example of how England fail to use spinners properly.

      Jadeja himself has been, well, “ok”, in terms of wicket taking threat. But really he’s fired it into the rough over and over again. held up an end, not allowed anyone to get after him, bowled way more overs than anyone else, and allowed Kohli to rotate his quicks so they’re a) fresh and b) able to attack at all times.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s