I think India need 300-plus to defend here, feels Michael Atherton

India will need to set England a minimum of 300 runs as target if they are to feel comfortable about defending it in good batting conditions at The Oval, feels former English batsman Michael Atherton.

The Virat Kohli-led side resumed their second innings at 270 for 3 with a 171-run lead in their bag after a dominant batting show on Saturday in the fourth Test.

The former England cricketer said the pitch at the Oval hasn’t seen a lot of sunshine and it’s still good to bat on.

“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 was quoted as saying by Sony Sports.

“India’s attack doesn’t obviously have R Ashwin and it looks a less threatening seam attack in the absence of Mohammed Shami. I do think India needs 300-plus to defend here.

“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.