Rohit Sharma (L) and KL Rahul of India run a single as Ollie Robinson of England looks on Day 2 of The Oval Test. Pic: Getty Images
Former England captain Michael Vaughan reckons if India can bat out Day 3 of the Oval Test, they would be firm favorites to go 2-1 up in the five-match series. According to Vaughan, it will be crucial for the visitors to see out the first hour, after which batting should get easy.
After conceding a 99-run lead in the first innings, India battled hard to reduce the deficit to 56 by stumps on Day 2. Their openers KL Rahul (22 not out) and Rohit Sharma (20 not out) batted defiantly as India ended the day on 43 for no loss.
In an interaction on Cricbuzz, Vaughan opined that India have a strong chance to end Day 3 in the ascendancy, provided they bat well. Vaughan said:
“I think there will be another 270 runs scored on Day 3. If India can bat out out the day, then we start getting to the stage where they become favorites to win the Test match. That’s the big if – can they bat out the day? The first hour is always the key as the ball will do a little bit. We saw that on the first two mornings as well. If India can nullify that first hour, when there is a little bit more in the surface, India start to become favorites then.”
The former England skipper warned the Indian batters against chasing wide deliveries, which has been their undoing in the series. Vaughan added:
“Bat all day – it’s a simple procedure that India now find themselves in. They have nullified the initial pressure zone with that start. Don’t go chasing the wide ones, don’t go chasing those big drives in the first hour. Play for your off stump and then make hay. The sun will shine eventually.”
Earlier in the day, India claimed two quick wickets to reduce England to 62 for 5. However, Ollie Pope (81) and Chris Woakes (50) led the fightback for the hosts as they stretched their first-innings lead to 99.
The team that gets an individual hundred will win the game: Vaughan
Although England managed to gain a significant first-innings lead, according to Vaughan it is not a lot considering the pitch is a very good one to bat on. He stated that if an Indian batter can score a hundred, the match will firmly be in their grasp.
“I really feel that the way India have fought, from 120 for 7 to now be in this position, where they are only 56 runs behind… It is not a lot on a ground where you can score quite quickly. The team that gets the individual score to an individual hundred, that side will win the game. If an Indian can get a hundred, that will go a long way in them winning the game.”
Rahul is the only Indian batter to have scored a hundred for India in the series so far. Rohit and Indian captain Virat Kohli have hit two fifties each.