Just as things started to pull up for Team India at The Oval, Mohammed Siraj made a massive blunder on the field to deprive them of a crucial wicket.
In the 48th over of England’s chase, opening batsman Haseeb Hameed went for an ugly swipe across the line against Ravindra Jadeja. The ball had no elevation and it went straight to Mohammed Siraj at mid-on. The fast-bowler had it coming at a good height, but was late to react and let the ball burst through his hands onto his abdomen.
Here’s a video of the same:
Mohammed Siraj apparently also suffered an injury to his finger, which India will hope is not too serious.
Nevertheless, with the pitch flattened out, India’s only chance of winning the match is by taking wickets in a cluster. After Shardul Thakur’s blow a few overs ago, a second wicket here would have worked wonders for the team.
Moreover, Ravindra Jadeja is desperately in need of a breakthrough. He was erratic on Day 4 but kept his lines and lengths quite tight on Monday, troubling the batsmen with the rough outside the left-hander’s off-stump. The left-arm spinner needs some luck going his way but it’s unlikely that Hameed or England will provide another such opportunity.
Shardul Thakur gave the first breakthrough before Mohammed Siraj’s drop
While it remains to be seen how costly Mohammed Siraj’s drop might prove, India have gained a slight upper hand in the match. Thakur, who is coming off two fifties in the Test, once again put his hand up to pull the game towards India.
He bowled a brilliant length delivery to Rory Burns that kicked off and nipped away just enough to take the edge to the wicketkeeper. Since then, the runs have dried up and England’s batsmen are certainly feeling the pressure. A couple of wickets here could push them to give up on winning the match and go for a draw.