Woakes confident England will pull off the chase vs India


England cricketer Chris Woakes, who has taken a total of seven wickets in the fourth Test at The Oval, said that the hosts were optimistic about beating India later on Monday and take a 2-1 lead in the five-Test series.

In the 141 years Test cricket has been played in England, only twice has a team managed to chase down a target greater than 350 to win. Joe Root’s side will be looking to become the third side to pull off the feat.

England go into the final day at 77/0, chasing 368 to win. If they get there it will be England’s highest successful Test chase ever.

“This team has done some special things over the last few years in all different formats,” Woakes, who has emerged as England’s standout performer in the match, said after the close of the fourth day’s play.

“These are the times you want to be part of. We’re trying to do something special. It’s a great place to be.

“There’s a lot of hard work still to be done but you can draw on those experiences. You can look back on what we’ve done in the past and what we’re capable of as a team. A lot of the time, it’s just about believing you’ve got the ability to do that and then going out and executing it,” Woakes was quoted as saying by icc-cricket.com.

“Everyone will be in agreement with the fact that we can go on and get the runs; there’ll be no doubt about that.”

Two years ago, England had chased down 362 in an Ashes Test at Headingley.

England’s bowlers were made to work hard on Sunday as India scored 466 runs in 148.2 overs. James Anderson (1/79), Ollie Robinson (2/105) and Woakes (3/83) all bowled more than 30 overs, while Moeen Ali (2/118) also came close to that mark. While it was a tough day at work for Woakes and his fellow bowlers, the pace bowler sounded confident about chasing the target.

“We felt like it was a good enough wicket to be able to chase any score. To go all the way and chase down that score would be an incredible effort. It would be a great, great chase. But our openers have done a great job and put us in a good position to start on the final day. To get another 291 on a day-five pitch always sounds like a tough ask but we’ve got to keep reminding ourselves that this pitch is still good for batting and we can do it if we bat well all the way down.

“We just have to tick it off slowly. We won’t get too far ahead of ourselves. I hear that it’ll be a full house here at The Oval, so the atmosphere will be great. And that’s where you want to be as a player.”

For India, Jadeja will be the key man, with the left-arm spinner getting a good amount of turn in the closing stages on Day 4.