All the changes made by both India and England for the ongoing fourth Test match at The Oval have justified their inclusion in one way or the other over the first two days’ play.
Umesh Yadav, the pace bowler, who is playing his first Test of the series, took three of the first five England wickets, including the prized scalp of England captain Joe Root.
Yadav was one of the two changes made by India, who left out pacers Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma for this game.
The other inclusion Shardul Thakur, who picked the crucial wicket of England top-scorer Ollie Pope, scored 57 off 36 balls, with three sixes and seven boundaries. Thakur’s quickfire half-century was the reason India managed to get to 191 in their first innings.
For England, both the inclusions, Chris Woakes and Pope were the best performers for their team. The former was England’s most successful bowler picking 4/55 to help his side restrict the opposition. He also chipped in with some runs towards the end.
Woakes’s wickets included Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant, who are both capable of changing the course of the game.
Pope, batting at No. 6, kept England’s first innings intact with 81 even as the host found themselves tottering at 62/5.
The right-hander, who is playing at his home ground, faced the bowlers with straight bat and was very selective with his shots as he stitched an 89-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Jonny Bairstow and a 71-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Moeen Ali.
He was the one responsible for helping England go past India’s first innings total despite the early trouble they found themselves in.