Going into Day 5 of the first Test between England and India, one can safely say the visitors are the favourites, needing just 157 runs to win with 9 wickets in hand. England were in a spot of bother after India took a handy 95 run lead in the first inning but a masterclass from Joe Root put England in front. Just as when England looked like running away with the game, Indian bowlers bounced back and triggered a collapse which saw England lose the final 6 wickets for 92 runs, giving India a target of 209 to win. The Indian openers started positively and looked composed before KL Rahul departed for 26, the only casualty for India in the second inning.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan admitted that India are in firm control of the game but reckoned that quick wickets may trigger panic in the camp, giving England a sniff. On many instances overseas, India have failed to chase achievable totals and the kind of form Indian middle-order batters are in, Vaughan’s statement does make some sense.
“India are on top. They are the favorites, but you just never know. We have seen this England team before, we have seen this Indian team in English conditions, chasing down this kind of number and losing a few wickets and they start to panic,” Vaughan said on BBC’s Test Match Special podcast.
“You say the pitch has to deteriorate so much and it can. Sometimes it can happen. The clouds might roll in. The ball starts hooping around,” he added.
Vaughan further pointed out that Cheteshwar Pujara looked uncomfortable while batting on Day 4, adding that he was surprised how he survived the day. Pujara has been under the scanner after consistent failures. India’s No 3 would like to make a statement and take the team to victory. With just 157 runs needed, Pujara can play his natural waiting game and absorb pressure while other batsmen can knock off the runs.
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