Zaheer Khan is of the opinion that India does have an opportunity to win the fourth Test, but it depends on how the batsmen perform in the second innings. He lauded the performances of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma, who did not lose their wickets in the final 16 overs of the Day 2 against England.
England were in trouble after getting reduced to 62 for five at one stage on Day 2. However, Ollie Pope, playing in his first match of the series, played a brilliant knock of 81 runs while stitching an 89-run partnership with Jonny Bairstow (37). The 23-year-old also made a crucial 71-run stand with Moeen Ali (35) before Chris Woakes (50) smashed a quick half-century to take his team's first innings the lead to 99 runs.
Zaheer Khan has stated that India still have the opportunity in the fourth Test if the batsman makes use of the conditions very well. The former India pacer added that England can be put under pressure just like Lord’s Test if India plays positive cricket.
“This England team can be put under pressure. We saw it at Lord’s and, before that, in the first Test as well. Yes, Ollie Pope batted really well and could provide good support to skipper Joe Root in the second innings. I still feel this current England side is susceptible under pressure. India have an opportunity but it all depends on how the batters grab it,” Zaheer told Cricbuzz.
The wicket seemed to provide less assistance on the second day to the bowlers compared to Day 1 when England dismissed India to a paltry total of 191 runs. Indian openers, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma walked into bat in the last hour of the day and the duo looked promising with their selection of shots and played positive cricket. Zaheer Khan lauded KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma for their positive approach in the second innings to reach 43/0 at the end of the day.
“Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul's intent was really impressive. It is not easy for batters to play out that last hour. There is always that dilemma as to whether they must bat for stumps or keep playing their natural game. Often batters get confused in such a situation and lose their wicket as well. From that perspective, the Team India openers batted positively, played their shots, and showed great intent,".
Zaheer was impressed with the way Indian openers started the second innings. He stated that Rahul and Rohit look promising and they are batting with a strong intent to score more runs to win the game for their side.
“If you look at the run rate, India scored at nearly three an over. Earlier, (when conditions were tough) they were leaving the balls alone. By playing positive cricket, Team India’s openers have sent out a strong message to England, that they are here to score runs and want to win the game. They will be looking to first go past the deficit and then set England a challenging total. The fourth-day or fifth-day pitch will then come into play. India need to remain positive on Day 3. This is a good wicket and if they can score runs, they can come back into a winning position," he added.
At the end of Day 2, India were 43/0, trailing England by 56 runs.