After Rohit Sharma’s hundred, Rishabh Pant and Shardul Thakur notched up fifties, and Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah also added with vital runs piling up the lead to 367.
Nasser Hussain is unhappy that Root time and again summoned his tiring pacers for a spell, and felt Root had lost confidence in Ali because of his high economy. He reckons this lack of trust of an English captain in his spinner is historical.
“I was mystified by Joe Root’s tactics between lunch and tea. On a flat pitch, and on the fourth afternoon — probably the hottest of the series — every other team in the world would have been bowling their frontline spinner,” Nasser Hussain wrote in column for the Daily Mail.
“Instead, Root kept flogging seamers Anderson and Ollie Robinson, who have been going hard at India all series. Whether he had lost some faith in Moeen because he was going at four an over, I don’t know.
“It’s also true he has bowled very little with the red ball this season. But it just feels as if a lack of trust in spin bowling is so endemic in the English game,” he added.
If you’re the spinner, you should be doing a job for your captain on the fourth afternoon: Nasser Hussain
The commentator asserted that Ali should have been used more on a Day 4 pitch and it was his role to give his skipper some breakthroughs, which he did in the form of Virat Kohli and Pant.
“… When India came out to bowl in the final session, Ravindra Jadeja’s slow left-armers were introduced into the attack as early as the eighth over. Sure enough, his first ball spun from the rough outside Burns’ off stump.
“If you’re the spinner in this side, you should be doing a job for your captain on the fourth afternoon. It’s as simple as that.”
Jack Leach, who was England’s best spinner on the tour to India, is not even in England’s squad for this Test match as England have opted for a four-man pace attack.
“When Root finally gave Moeen and himself a trundle, they struck immediately, in successive overs. On an extremely flat Oval pitch, they needed their captain and their No 1 spinner to be on top of their games — and neither quite managed it.” the 53-year-old concluded.
England have their work cut out with staring at a target of 368. However, Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed gave them a solid start with a 77-run unbeaten partnership in the final session of Day 4.