India will find it tough batting fourth: Sunil Gavaskar
India will be expecting another good knock from Virat Kohli if they are to win this Test (Getty Images)

Sunil Gavaskar has warned the Indian team to not concede much runs when England walk out to bat on the fourth day of the fourth Test at Southampton. The former India captain feels batting fourth will require quite an effort from India on a surface that began showing glimpses of turn at the latter half of Day 2 and will aid more spin when India walk put to achieve the target that is set to them.

In his column for the Times of India, the former India batsman, first from the country to score 10000 Test runs, pointed out that India should be wary of Moeen Ali, who picked up a five-wicket haul in the first innings.

“India knew that they did not want to chase more than 150 to 200 in the second innings for it is not going to be easy batting in the fourth innings,” Gavaskar said.

“India will be more concerned that Moeen Ali took five wickets on a pitch which didn’t help spin at all. Yes, Ishant Sharma’s follow-through was creating a bit of a patch where Moeen did land occasionally and got a bit of turn. That may have created a bit of doubt in the batsmen’s minds but some of the shots were quite forgettable,” Gavaskar said.

England are already ahead of India by 233 runs, and with two wickets to go and Sam Curran at the crease, they’d like to stretch it as much as they can. Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, who scored 69 and put on vital lower-order partnerships, mentioned that England are pretty much in the driver’s seat to win the Test since there’s plenty of wear and tear in the wicket.

However, Cheteshwar Pujara, India’s first-innings centurion feels differently. According to him, whatever target India is set, their batsman can chase it down. But for that to happen, Pujara himself will have to continue from where he left off in the first innings, a defiant century that allowed India to first close in and then go past England’s total of 246. It was a knock that according to Gavaskar, was tailor-made for Test cricket.

“Cheteshwar Pujara’s calm, composed century, his first in a Test match in England, gave India the lead and psychological advantage,” Gavaskar said. “His was a typical Test-match innings, where some patience is required. He had the gumption to occupy the crease. Far too many modern batsmen are chomping at the bit to hit the big shots that they play so well in limited-overs cricket, but they forget sometimes that the red ball does a lot more than the limited-overs white ball does and get out.

“Pujara bided his time, rode out the early tough times and got to a well-deserved hundred. He also did the good thing by acknowledging the invaluable support of Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah in getting those last runs to get to a century, as well as help India take the lead.”