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Michael Atherton Believes India Won’t Feel Comfortable Unless They Set 300-plus Target
By Aditya Pratap - Sep 5, 2021 4:47 pm
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Former England skipper Michael Atherton believes Team India will not feel comfortable if they don’t set the target in excess of 300 in the fourth Test. He feels the batting condition in The Oval are good and India need to post a big target on day four of the Test.

Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara

Team India conceded a 99-run lead when England finished their first innings. However, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma batted well to wipe 43 runs off the deficit before the stumps of day two. They kept batting well and shared 83 runs for the opening wicket.

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Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara enjoyed a good batting day at The Oval on day three. Rohit scored his first overseas hundred in Test cricket while Pujara scored yet another fifty. India ended day three at 270/3 with Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja in the middle as India gained a 171-run lead.

Meanwhile, Atherton feels India need to set a target in excess of 300 to feel comfortable about defending it.

“India have their noses in front, there is no doubt about. But I do think they will need a decent score to defend. The pitch is pretty good and it’s more like a Day 3 pitch. We have not got the wear and tear that you would normally expect from a Day 4 pitch because of the lack of sunshine. It’s been cloudy and overcast,” Atherton told Sony Sports.

Also Read: Michael Atherton feels India will go 2-0 up in the Test series

“India’s attack doesn’t obviously have Ashwin and it looks a less threatening seam attack in the absence of Shami. I do think India needs 300-plus to defend here. Sunny is right about the pressure of the 4th innings chase. The conditions will still be good today and also tomorrow. India will want to bat two sessions or the best part of today.”

Virat Kohli is batting in the middle

“That 300 mark is kind of minimum for India. If you’re defending 250 in the 4th innings, you still have to believe you have got a reasonable chance. But I think the combination of the conditions and the way that India’s attack shapes up, they are not going to be comfortable in their mind unless they get 300 or 350. That lead now is 171, which is still away from 300. So England will feel they have got a chance,” he added.

The five-match Test series is nicely poised at 1-1 with the fourth Test is underway at the Kennington Oval.

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