London, Aug 16 :
England suffered a batting collapse against India losing four wickets for 38 runs before reaching 246 for five in their first innings on the second day of the fifth and the final criket Test at The Oval here Saturday.
Joe Root was batting on 11 and Jos Buttler 12 when tea was called. England now lead by 98 runs thanks to half-centuries from skipper Alastair Cook (79) and Gary Ballance (64).
England, resuming the day at 62/0, almost dominated the first two sessions of the day but lost the plot an hour before tea as they slumped from 191 for one to 229 for five.
Fast bowler Varun Aaron and offie Ravichandran Ashwin picked up two wickets each while Ishant Sharma got one.
Though overnight batsman Sam Robson (37) departed in the second over of the day with an excellent delivery from Aaron that knocked his off-stump to the ground, Cook and Ballance faced no problems whatsoever. Robson is yet to score a half-century since the first innings of the first Test but set the stage with Cook here with a 66-run stand.
Cook and Ballance then dominated the Indian bowling and scored runs easily on both sides of the wicket. Cook got to his half-century in the first session as England took lunch at 148 for one.
Cook looked set for what would have been his first century in 33 innings but it was not to be. The England captain was lured into a drive by Aaron and this time Murali Vijay made no mistake taking a good low catch at first slip.
Ballance also departed soon as he gave a simple catch to Cheteshwar Pujara off Ashwin at silly-point and in the next over Ian Bell (7) poked forward to an away going delivery from Ishant and edged to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Moeen Ali (14) was played on by Ashwin as England messed up what would have been a great session for them.