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Published on: Aug 19, 2011
England's hopes of completing a whitewash against India were hampered by the weather on Thursday, with rain preventing play after lunch on the first day of the fourth Test at The Oval.
England, at stumps, were stuck on their lunch score of 75 without loss after captain Andrew Strauss, who won the toss, defied the gloomy overhead conditions by opting to bat first on a typically good Oval pitch.
Strauss was 38 not out and fellow left-hander Alastair Cook 34 not out, with England already 3-0 up in this four-match series after a crushing innings and 242-run victory third Test victory at Edgbaston saw them replace India at the top of the ICC's Test Championship table.
Rain meant only 26 of the day's scheduled 90 overs were bowled.
England's most concerning moment of the morning came when Strauss, on 24, bailed out of a pull shot against an Ishant Sharma bouncer and saw the ball crash into his helmet, breaking a piece of the peak.
But, after calling for a replacement helmet, Strauss was not troubled again by a largely ineffectual India attack.
England captain Andrew Strauss won the toss and elected to bat first in the fourth Test against England at the Oval on Thursday.
While the hosts go into the match with an unchanged playing eleven, India have brought in RP Singh in place of the injured Praveen Kumar.
Team India hopes to lift the gloom from its campaign in England by putting up a spirited performance, after England inflicted three humiliating defeats on the visitors to become the No 1 team in Test cricket.
It's been 12 years since India last lost all the Tests in a series, losing 0-3 to Australia in 1999-2000. On form, experts don't rule out another whitewash 12 years later.
In all probability, The Oval Test will be the last in England for the likes of SachinTendulkar, RahulDravid and VVSLaxman. And while Dravid still remains the standout performer among the ruins, Tendulkar and Laxman would want to shed off disappointment and help the team cross the 300-run mark, which India haven't achieved in six innings on tour so far.
Though England are set to replace India as No 1 in the ICC Test rankings, another loss at The Oval will hurt the visitors' ranking badly.
Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss (capt), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Matt Prior, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson
VirenderSehwag, GautamGambhir, RahulDravid, SachinTendulkar, VVSLaxman, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), AmitMishra, Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth, RundraPratap Singh