Former England skipper Michael Atherton shared his thoughts on England completing a record run-chase on day five of the fourth Test against India. Although England’s openers have started solidly, they need to dig deep to achieve victory.
The Indian team’s lower order made England toil on day four by adding over 100 runs. However, Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns got through to close unscathed, threading an unbroken 77-run stand. Burns, in particular, overcame a testing spell from Ravindra Jadeja in the final moments of the day.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Michael Atherton observed that the pitch hasn’t offered much. The cricketer-turned-commentator was slightly unimpressed by the composition of India’s seam attack and doubts how much Jadeja can do on the final day.
“It’s pretty flat, there’s not much happening, and then you look at the shape of India’s attack. No Shami, no Ishant, no Ashwin, they seemed very reliant in that first innings on Bumrah especially. How much will Jadeja have an influence? He may have an impact, (but) it’s a good pitch.”
England’s most successful run-chase in Tests came against Australia at Headingley in 2019. The Three Lions gunned down 359 in an epic game as Ben Stokes finished with 135 not out. But the Oval has seen 263 as its highest run-chase thus far.
Michael Holding’s views not too dissimilar to Atherton’s
Former West Indies paceman Michael Holding backed Atherton’s opinion. The Jamaican also thinks Ravichandran Ashwin might have been better able to influence the game than Jadeja with the ball.
“I don’t really see this pitch playing too many tricks. I didn’t see the England seamers create too many problems… and the India seamers I don’t expect to do much better. And Jadeja, I don’t know. I would have preferred Ashwin if you’re talking about just the bowling.”
All-rounder Chris Woakes strongly backed England to chase down 368 successfully. The 32-year old believes England can add this game to the folklore of the special things achieved in their recent past.