LONDON (Reuters) – England lost two quick wickets before reaching 131-2 at lunch on the final day of the evenly-poised fourth test against India at The Oval on Monday.

Chasing a daunting victory target of 368, the hosts made a strong start with a century opening partnership before India made inroads and restricted England’s scoring rate with some disciplined bowling.

Haseeb Hameed was unbeaten on 62 at the interval and England captain Joe Root was on eight.

Earlier, both openers brought up their fifties before Shardul Thakur ended their fluent 100-run stand.

Rory Burns took two runs off Thakur to bring up his 50 but the seamer angled the next ball in and the opener could only edge it behind.

Hameed should also have been back in the pavilion but Mohammed Siraj dropped an easy catch at mid-on after the opener, on 56, played a reckless shot against Ravindra Jadeja.

India could not be denied a second wicket, though, and Dawid Malan was run out for five after responding to Hameed’s call for a tight single.

Hameed hit six fours in his knock but looked uncomfortable against Jadeja’s left-arm spin.

England’s highest successful run chase was when they achieved a 359-run target in the 2019 Headingley test against Australia.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Ed Osmond)

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