India pacer Mohammed Shami may not be a part of the fourth Test between India and England at Oval but despite missing on the action – the fans made his day as the fast bowler turned 31 on Friday. Shami, who was not a part of the Team India playing XI for the fourth Test due to a niggle, was walking on the sidelines of Oval along with his Bengal teammate Abhimanyu Easwaran when he came across a section of fans with a huge birthday cake in hand. Without wasting any time, Shami obliged his fans and gave them a huge reason to cheer by cutting the cake.Also Read - Shafali Verma Retains No. 1 Spot in ICC Women's T20I Rankings, Sophie Devine Jumps to Joint Top Among All-Rounders Tally
A few ardent fans of Shami in the crowd brought a cake on his birthday, wearing his birthday special t-shirts along with the balloons and the fanfare. All of this ensured that Shami remains in the spotlight despite not playing the fourth Test. Also Read - IPL 2021: Dinesh Karthik Confident of Kolkata Knight Riders Qualification For Play-offs in T20 League
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The Amroha-born pacer has played the first three Tests of the series and taken 11 wickets. His best haul of the series — 4/95 — came in the third Test at Headingley, Leeds. Shami also picked a four-wicket haul — 4/76 — in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in June.
He is just five wickets short of completing 200 Test wickets. If he does so, he will be only the fifth Indian pacer to get to the milestone.
Meanwhile, talking about the fourth Test – India allowed Ollie Pope and Chris Woakes to earn substantial 99-run first-innings lead for England on day two of the fourth Test, leaving their star-studded batting line-up to rise to the occasion in the second essay after a string of indifferent performances.
In the absence of Shami, the Indian pace attack did not seem potent enough on the day and was unable to put sustained pressure on the batsmen. From a precarious 62 for five, England staged a remarkable recovery to score 290 on a pitch getting better for batting with each session.
But despite losing the initiative, India are still in the match after restricting the English lead to less than 100.
The men responsible for giving England the upper hand in the game were Ollie Pope (81 off 159) and Chris Woakes (50 off 60) whose attacking innings in the final session could well prove to be the difference in the match.