Eng v Ind live: England enforce follow on, The Oval, day four, afternoon

Dravid carries his bat as India reach their highest total of the series

Tea: Fourth Test, day four, The Oval
Match score: India 25-0 (Sehwag 16*, Dravid 7*) and 300 all out (Dravid 146*; Bresnan 3-54, Swann 3-102) trail England 591-6 dec (Bell 235, Pietersen 175; Sreesanth 3-123) by 266 runs
Full scorecard
Session score: India 107-4 England win

Just as one started to contemplate the possibility that India could draw the game, Gautam Gambhir was caught in the gully.

A strange innings (10 off 62 balls) had come to an end. He was batting at No.9 because of his concussion but he looked neither at ease, nor in great discomfort. He has a track record of defiance, having saved a Test in New Zealand two years ago, but he never looked like he had the appetite for a similar performance here.

When he was out, caught off the shoulder of the bat, Broad gave him a look that only a mother can give a child, as George W Bush once said of the Queen after a verbal gaffe that had implied she first visited the US in 1776.

Broad’s look suggested disdain at the lack of fight India have shown in this series. In the next over Jimmy Anderson chirped away at RP Singh who, like Amit Mishra, took the gung-ho attitude to tail-end batting.

Rahul Dravid had been the star of the morning but in the afternoon England effectively gave up on getting him out and started peppering his tail-end colleagues.

Tim Bresnan had Amit Mishra brilliantly caught one-handed at backward short leg by Ian Bell and Broad re-engaged himself as the enforcer, bowling short, round the wicket to Singh.

One detected a slight air of frustration from England that India hadn’t quite collapsed in a heap the way we had become accustomed to expect.

Fifty minutes before tea, India passed 288, their previous best total of the series, and ten minutes after that they reached 300 for the first time in their seven innings.

But the last two wickets fell in three balls and India were all out on the stroke of tea. There was a minute or two of tense uncertainty while we wondered whether England would enforce the follow on. With a day’s play lost in this game already, there was no real decision to make.

Dravid, having carried his bat through the first innings, emerged to open the innings with Virender Sehwag again, Gambhir still apparently considered unfit to take his rightful spot in the order.

Sehwag inside-edged his first ball for four past Matt Prior to indicate this might be an electric passage of play. He did start to leave the ball as well, though, suggesting he was trying to build an innings.

He tried to cut Broad off the last ball before tea and missed which, in terms of evening entertainment possibilities, was a good thing.

John Stern is a former editor of The Cricketer
Follow him on Twitter @Cricketer_John

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