September 23, 2021

England allowed India to return in the fourth Test as Rohit Sharma scored his first foreign century at the Oval.

Oli Robinson provided the only chance for joy and celebration but it was a bad day for England.

In fact, so bad that the seemingly winning position in the fourth Test turned into uncertainty by the end of the third day.

India star Rohit Sharma made his first overseas century at the Oval.

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India star Rohit Sharma made his first overseas century at the Oval.Credit: Getty

Indian opener Rohit Sharma scored his first overseas Test century and found staunch allies in KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara.

Robinson bowled both Rohit and Pujara in the opening over with the second new ball but England’s only second victory was to remove Rahul before lunch.

This meant that when the bad light stopped playing 50 minutes earlier, India had reached 270-3 and turned the first innings deficit into a 171-run lead in 99 overs.

With Virat Kohli not out 22, India will look to take advantage of the 300 on Sunday and put a lot of pressure on England’s second innings.

Rohit and Pujara were very upset during the second wicket partnership of 153, so it was a big surprise when both of them left.

Robinson’s first delivery with the second cherry was a short long hop, which was a real slack. But Rohit somehow conspired to put the crosswalk on the long leg.

Pujara then made the last delivery of the same over on his back thigh pad and lobbied Moin Ali on the third slip. Pujara was initially not out by umpire Richard Ealingworth, but a review confirmed the edge.

Rohit and Pujara were so in control that India became the first visiting team in the country to reach 200 after Australia in 2015, losing just one wicket in a Test.

Jimmy Anderson, Robinson and Vokes bowled well but the pitch – very difficult when Joe Root chose fielding on the first day – fell into the batsmen’s dream.

You could say that Anderson, 39, and the still inexperienced Robinson lost energy after the back-to-back Tests and Vokes lacked cricket after his injury, but he was clearly not struggling. There was hardly any background movement.

Craig Overton and Moin, who often fell short, performed less well.

England – and Rory Burns, in particular – will regret a pair of dropped catches that gave Rohit a break.

Burns failed to understand Anderson’s edge on Friday evening when Rohit scored six runs and Burns was guilty again when he failed to grab a right-handed chance from Rohanson at 31 with Rohanson.

They were both big moments in the game.

Rohit is one of the best players in the game. He has scored three double centuries in ODIs and is the captain who beat Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

But his test career was a stop start, dropped repeatedly or the order was turned upside down. It is only in recent times that Rohit has made himself India’s regular opener.

None of his last seven Test centuries were made outside India. So it was a breakthrough innings.

It is also a pleasure to see Rohit. She seems to have so much time to play her shots and she admires the beauty and style.

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Even when Rohan completed his century by hitting a six to Moin, who headed towards Long On and the pavilion, there was no sign of violence in the shot.

Rahul was bowled out for LBW by Vokes for 41 – after the ball hit his sixes – but it was a poor decision by umpire Alex Warf. The replay clearly showed the ball stumping the legs.

Rahul may have survived the review – but technology did 46 for him.

He was caught not out behind Anderson but the ball passed through his outer edge and DRS showed speed.

Rahul pleaded with the umpires that he did not touch the ball and that the spike was not of the sharp point that proves the sound of leather on the willow – but the batsman had to go.

England saw India fight back in the Oval in the fourth Test.

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England saw India fight back in the Oval in the fourth Test.Credit: Reuters

Pujara needed heavy straps and a six-minute delay after twisting his left ankle. But it did not cause him much trouble.

He continued to score most of his runs in the series in India’s second innings. Pujara played many of his favorite cut shots and occasionally knocked the ground off Moin’s off-spin.

After Rohit and Pujara were dismissed in the same Robinson over, Kohli and Ravi Jadeja added 33 before the umpires decided it was too dark for fast bowling.

Root bowled a few overs for himself and Moin but then Vokes tried to bowl – the game was stopped with the inevitable result.

Foolish cricket fans clashed with Bairstow after a safety breach for the third time during the Test series.

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