BUMBLE ON THE TEST: Moeen Ali should to go the Ashes this winter

BUMBLE ON THE TEST: Moeen Ali should to go the Ashes this winter, but England hit a brick wall on Sunday afternoon… and India captain Virat Kohli only has one more chance for a big score!

  • England closed the fourth day of the fourth Test against India on 77 for no loss
  • Moeen Ali overtook Jim Laker for Test wickets and should be in the Ashes squad
  • There’s still time for Virat Kohli to get a big score in the final Test in Manchester 

England saw India take the upper hand in the Fourth Test at the Oval on Sunday after a superb second innings batting performance.

With the pitch providing no help for the bowlers, India’s tail-enders piled on the runs to finish on a mammoth 466, leaving England needing 368 runs to win. They finished the day on 77-0. 

Sportsmail‘s DAVID LLOYD offers his thoughts and insights on an intriguing day’s play after which England have it all to do to secure what would be an incredible victory.

Moeen Ali now has more Test wickets than Jim Laker and should go to the Ashes this winter

Mo’s earned Ashes spot 

Incredible to discover Moeen Ali has now got more Test scalps than Jim Laker. That is some effort, even without his runs. Moeen fretted last time in Australia but if your team are not scoring big runs it’s tough there as a spinner. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t go back this winter. 

Take a bow, umpires

A word on the all-English umpiring panel, who have been fabulous throughout this series. Of course they sometimes get decisions wrong and I know they were distraught when the Decision Review System came in. Not now. They know if they make a mistake it can be challenged and put right. It has improved standards. 

Still time for Kohli

Virat Kohli is still bubbling under! His is such a golden wicket and even though he’s got his 30s, 40s and 50s, he can’t kick on. England have had wonderful plans for him. The captain hasn’t expressed himself yet in this series. He’s got one more chance at Old Trafford — I wouldn’t bet against a big innings there. 

Virat Kohli is still the golden wicket and England have had superb bowling plans against him

Bring on Manchester

A weather update from up here in the Costa del Manchester — it’s going to be properly hot for the last Test! It certainly looks dry all week and that means Old Trafford groundsman Matt Merchant can really work on the pitch ahead of Friday. It will be rock hard, will have good pace and carry, and I haven’t seen one up here yet that hasn’t spun. It will be a cracker. 

Problems with the pond

Still spending my time away from the Test wisely and, since we last spoke, I’ve been building a pond in the garden of my new pad. I dug down 4ft on my tractor but got my measurements wrong and had to get the rest of the dirt out by hand. It says on the box I should be able to erect the pond in two hours — a day and a half later, I’m still going. 

Shardul Thakur (left) and Rishabh Pant (right) jammed England up and batted fantastically

Holding out for a hero

England hit a brick wall in the afternoon session. They got themselves in a jam. Nothing much was happening and Rishabh Pant and Shardul Thakur were playing with controlled aggression. The pair of them got India into a fantastic position and left England with everything to do. But they’ve got plenty of time to do it. Someone has to stand up today. 

Get on with the game!

My chum Nasser Hussain said on Sky, ‘Thank goodness Bumble’s not here to see it’, when there was yet more slow play yesterday. I was watching, Nass. Just after play started, Jimmy Anderson had trouble with the footholes. Why did the groundsman not sort those out before play? And as for India having a drink 10 minutes before a drinks break. I despair. 

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