IND vs ENG, 5th Test Day 4: England needs 119 runs to win on final day after Root, Bairstow frustrate India

Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root stitched a 150-run partnership to put England in pole position on the fourth day of the rescheduled fifth Test against India at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Monday.

PTI
Joe Root steadied England with an unbeaten 76 on the fourth day of the fifth Test against India on Monday.

Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow put England on course for a ground-breaking run chase against India despite Jasprit Bumrah's brilliance on day four of the rescheduled fifth Test to set up a fitting series finale here on Monday.

Skipper Bumrah brought India back in the game with wickets on either side of the lunch break after England openers Alex Lees (56 off 65) and Zak Crawley (46 off 76) finally found form and shared a 107-run stand chasing a record 378-run target.

From 107 for no loss, it soon became 109 for three before the dangerous duo of Root (76) and Bairstow (72) frustrated the Indians with a commanding 150-run partnership off just 197 balls.

Advertising
Advertising

England was 259 for three at Stumps on day four, needing 119 runs for a series-levelling victory.

 

Though the wicket did not offer much help, the Indian bowlers were unable to maintain pressure on the English batters, who played with the aggression that has become the hallmark of the Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum school of cricket.

It also helped that India deployed a very defensive spread-out field, letting the England batters rotate strike.

Bairstow, who is in the form of his life, was dropped on 14 by Hanuma Vihari and he made India pay dearly for it.

With Stokes and Sam Billings still to come, India will need something special to pull off a win from here. India's bowling performance in the second innings was reminiscent of its struggles in South Africa where it failed to defend a target of 200-plus on two occasions after winning the series opener.

India could have made England chase in excess of 400 on day five if it was not for some poor shot selection. After starting the day at 125 for three, India was all out for 245 in the second innings.

AS IT HAPPENED | IND vs ENG Highlights 5th Test, Day 4: Root and Bairstow's fifties leave England needing 119 runs to win on final day against India

India had very little going for itself in the final session barring the first two overs. Bumrah had Ollie Pope caught behind before Lees was run out after Root went for a single that was not for the taking.

After that, it was a Root and Bairstow show as they scored runs at will.

Under-fire England openers Lees and Crawley had also displayed a lot of positive intent to take England to 107 for one at Tea. India managed to get the breakthrough towards the end of the session with Bumrah cleaning up Crawley (46), who misjudged a leave when a delivery darted in from length.

India could only consume 8.5 overs after Lunch. The tail did not wag compared to the first innings but specialist batters gifting their wickets away prevented India from getting a lead in excess of 400.

Chasing a record target, England came out all guns blazing and raced to 53 for no loss in nine overs with Lees collecting two fours off Ravindra Jadeja in his very first over. He stepped out of the crease to hit the first one past mid-off while the second came from a reverse sweep.

Crawley got going with a flick towards square leg off Bumrah before a crisp straight drive off Mohammed Shami.

Lees got to his second Test fifty in the following over with a classy backfoot punch off Mohammed Siraj, who resorted to bowling with a scrambled seam but failed to put the openers in any sort of discomfort.

Earlier, India gifted easy wickets to England but Rishabh Pant's half-century allowed it to extend its lead to 361 runs by Lunch.

Overnight batters Cheteshwar Pujara (66) and Pant (57) made a confident start.

Pujara got going with a backfoot punch and a flick off James Anderson for consecutive fours.

Pujara, who had reached the 50-run mark on Sunday, was hardly troubled by the English pacers. Pant and Pujara's job was made easier with Stokes giving three overs to part-timer Root after the start of play.

The Saurashtra batter, however, contributed to his own downfall by cutting a short and wide ball off Stuart Broad straight to backward point. It is his pet shot but he couldn't keep it down this time.

Shreyas Iyer (19) joined Pant in the middle and after playing a few shots, fell to the short-ball yet again, pulling straight to the fielder at midwicket.

Pant completed his fifty with a tickle off the pads, becoming the first Indian wicketkeeper to score a hundred and a half-century in an overseas Test.

After sweeping Jack Leach for a four, Pant went for a reverse-pull in the following over but was caught at first slip by Root, leaving India at 198 for six.

Brief Scores: India 416 and 245 (Cheteshwar Pujara 66, Rishabh Pant 57, Ben Stokes 4/33) England 284 and 259 for 3 (Alex Lees 56, Zak Crawley 46, Joe Root 76*, Jonny Bairstow 72*).