Moeen Ali feels that Ravindra Jadeja would be the “biggest threat” to England‘s batting on Day 5 of the Oval Test as they look to either hold India for a draw, or perhaps pull off a record-breaking chase, and the visitors aim to once again gain a series lead.
At the end of Day 4, the hosts were at 77/0, chasing a target of 368, which now, with 291 runs more needed and all 10 wickets in hand, doesn’t seem improbable at all – not least considering how flat and benign had the pitch played out for most part of Day 4.
Moeen Ali reckons while India have a strong pace bowling attack, it would be the left-arm off-spin of Jadeja which will pose a serious threat to the English batters. Jadeja will aim for the rough created by the right-arm pacers; in fact, he troubled Rory Burns on the fourth evening with some balls bouncing and spinning from the rough.
“Jasprit Bumrah is one of those bowlers that can make anything happen, but Jadeja is the biggest threat on that wicket. It’s such a flat wicket but we’re still going to have to play well. India always fight back strongly and that’s something we’re going to have to be wary about,” Moeen Ali told Sky Sports.
Moeen Ali hoping for the openers to carry on the good form
Finally, after a long time, England seem to have found a trustful and solid opening pair in Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed. The pair remained assured throughout their 77-run unbeaten stand in the fading light on the fourth evening and have given England a glimmer of hope of doing the improbable.
Highlighting the fact that the opener put up a formidable century stand in the third Test as well, Moeen Ali is hoping that they continue they build further on their platform.
“I thought the boys batted excellently. We knew if we get through the first 10 to 15 overs, the two guys who are in are very disciplined. They’ve done it before in the series when they put on an amazing partnership, so hopefully, they can do it again tomorrow,” he added.
Moeen Ali will also be hoping to contribute significantly with the bat on Day 5 should his services be needed. He had earlier picked a couple of wickets – crucial ones that of Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant – in India’s second innings after he had scored 35 runs in England’s first innings helping them extend their lead.