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Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman thinks England have given India a chance to come back in the fourth Test and the hosts will struggle if they get a target between 225-230.
India were 43 for no loss at the end of the second day’s gameplay with England leading by 56 runs. Indian openers Rohit Sharma (20) and KL Rahul (22) tackled the England pacers to ensure they did not cause any damage to their batting line-up.
Ollie Pope, Chris Woakes cruised England’s total to 290
Earlier in the day, Umesh Yadav sent back overnight batsmen Craig Overton and Dawid Malan to reduce England at 62/5 in the early part of the day. At a point where India looked to plunge on the hosts to regain the momentum in the match after they were bowled out for 191 on the first day, Pope in the company of wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow steadied England’s sinking ship.
Pope top-scored for England with 81 and all-rounder Chris Woakes blasted some quickfire runs in the end and made 50 to push the team’s score to 290, a lead of 99 runs.
I think England will struggle if they chase between 225-250
Laxman feels India have the edge to take the control of the game and any total above 225 would be a daunting task for Joe Root & co to chase.
“I think England have given India a chance to come back into this Test match. Because after bundling out the visitors for 191 you expect England, who probably got the better of the conditions, when we look at yesterday it was challenging for the Indian batsmen and the way the English bowlers were bowling, it was next to impossible to get runs for them,” Laxman told ESPNcricinfo.
“But I think with just now 56 runs behind and 10 wickets in hand, the kind of desperation each and every batsman in the Indian batting line-up will have tomorrow, I just feel it is a great opportunity for them to score big.
“And once if they get probably 400, which I hope they can as they have the capability to do so and even if it is 225-250 run-chase with 100 overs, I think England will struggle or will feel the pressure. It will be a much tougher wicket for them in the final innings than they batted today,” he added.
The series is tied at 1-1 after India won the second Test at Lord’s by 151 runs only for England to storm back with an innings and 76 runs triumph at Headingley in the third Test.