By Denzil Fernandes
London, Aug 20: The fourth and final test at the Oval is looking as good as lost for India. If ever they manage a draw, then probably the heavenly God will pity the tourists and rain the match out as a draw. There is no other option when one sees the pathetic Indians struggling to bowl out the England batsmen.
As play started on day two, there were two moments of success for India when openers Cook and Strauss fell quickly. Similarly, just as play ended there was Pietersen losing his wicket after a marathon full day’s stay at the wicket and hammering a well made 175 runs with the help of 27 boundaries. Pietersen has been one of the top scorers for England while recording his 19th ton for England. But his other partner for the day, Ian Bell is still there with an unbeaten 181 runs that has 17 fours and 2 sixes. Bell scored his 16th Test century in his career and looks set to score his maiden double century when play resumes.
One of the top all rounders in the game, former England player Ian Botham had commented on the first day that pacer R.P.Singh’s first over which he bowled was once of the worst ever he has seen in Test cricket. R.P. did not disappoint Botham and continued to bowl in same style even on day two and was a total misfit in the eleven. Although R.P. claims that he has been match fit, he dropped a normal catch offered by Pietersen late in the match. Overall, the Indians continued their sub standard display with bowlers like Sreesanth being hammered. Bell especially once hammered Sreesanth for 5 boundaries from 8 Sreesanth deliveries. As usual, Sreesanth was fuming and fretting but with no impression whatsoever on the well set batsmen.
The first day’s play was curtailed due to the rains which was a big relief for the battling Indians. There is a weather forecast for rain to disrupt the match in the forthcoming days. That will surely be welcomed by Dhoni and his boys who will take shelter in the pavilion and pray for some more rain. There is no one else who can save India as it stands. The huge total posted by England will be good enough to discourage the Indians to have any hopes of salvaging the match in any manner.
England are determined to record a clean sweep of 4-0 in the series. That will be a whitewash which India will be desperate to avoid. Only rain can now wash the match and save the Indians from more embarrassment.