England vs India, 5th Test, Day 4, Top Performances: Joe Root-Jonny Bairstow's 150-run stand, Ben Stokes' 4-33 and Lees-Crawley's 107-run stand are top performances. England need 119 runs on Day 5.
Brief Scores: England 259/3 (Root 76*, Bairstow 72*, Bumrah 2/53) & 284 (Bairstow 106, Siraj 4/66, Bumrah 3/68) need 119 runs to defeat India 416 (Pant 146, Jadeja 104, Anderson 5/60) & 245 (Pujara 66, Pant 57, Stokes 4/33) at Stumps on Day 4
After an eventful Day 3, India found themselves leading by 257 runs, shouldering on a courageous unbeaten half-century from Cheteshwar Pujara, who stitched up an unbroken fifty run stand with Rishabh Pant on the third day.
Root-Bairstow unbeaten 150 stand kept England ahead against reckless India
India didn’t begin the fourth day well, losing Pujara to an ordinary ball on a personal score of 66, however, Rishabh Pant carried his form from the first innings to notch up another half-century as the visitors were bundled out for 245 throwing a target of 378 to England. No other team has successfully chased a score of 300+ against India in Tests apart from Australia in 1977.
Chasing the target, England went off to a flier with the openers bringing up a century opening stand in 19.5 overs, before India made a brief comeback taking three quick wickets. However, the unbeaten 150-run stand between Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow kept England’s nose ahead in a valiant attempt to effect a record-breaking chase.
Let’s take a look at the top performances from the fourth day of the fifth Test between England and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
Bowler Stokes made vital strikes at regular intervals
It was in the middle of the third session on third day when England captain Ben Stokes introduced himself into the attack. He was in the middle of a great spell when he got rid of Virat Kohli on a personal score of 20 with a snake delivery that bounced awkwardly to take the edge of Kohli’s gloves before reaching the hands of Joe Root; this was the sixth time Stokes sent back Kohli.
Fast forward to the second session of the fourth day when Stokes reinstalled himself into the attack and bounced out Mohammed Shami on a personal score of 13 to get him caught at backward square leg.
Stokes kept on bowling with the short ball theory to dry up the runs and eventually saw Ravindra Jadeja drag on a short ball onto his stumps on 23.
Even after being pulled over the leg side for a six from his opposite number, Jasprit Bumrah, Stokes didn’t change the plan and got him to top-edge the next delivery to the fine leg fielder.
Stokes, who was a bit cold with his bowling throughout this summer, returned with figures of 4/33 to send India packing on 245.
Attacking century opening partnership between Lees & Crawley offers England hope
Chasing a record target, England required their openers to provide them a superb start and even after being in poor form recently, both Zak Crawley and Alex Lees began on a positive note cracking boundaries with ease but importantly taking those vital singles.
It was Lees who took charge early on to give his partner a bit of time to settle down. In just a blink of an eye, with a boundary through point, England marked their 50-run opening partnership in just nine overs.
Even Ravindra Jadeja, who was introduced early on to explore the rough outside the off-stump of the left-hander, was being treated with disdain by Lees. Crawley too appeared to be changing gears and cracking those boundaries.
Soon, with a boundary through covers, Lees notched up his second half-century as England crossed the 100-run mark in 19.5 overs, which is coincidentally the second fastest century opening stand for England in terms of balls in Men’s Test history.
This is also the first time England had three 100+ opening partnership in a series since the 1990 home rubber against India. It was also just the fifth 100+ opening stand in the fourth innings of a Test in England in the last 32 years.
After a ball change, India captain Jasprit Bumrah succeeded in breaking the 107-run opening stand that offered England all the expectations and hopes to chase the mountainous target set by India.
Unbeaten 150-run partnership of Root-Bairstow blew away India
England lost a couple of wickets at both ends of the Tea break when their best batter and former captain, Joe Root walked out into the middle and straightway opened his account with a single on the leg side. He became the culprit in running out set batter Alex Lees that saw the first innings hero Jonny Bairstow joining Root.
Root, just like he was doing all through the last year, kept on taking his time besides taking those singles to keep the scorecard moving while Bairstow, just like the first innings began to settle in. But both of them also played the attacking shots at regular intervals.
Due the open field, both the batters took some comfortable singles as Root acknowledged the crowd for reaching his 55th Test fifty.
In just nine innings in the series, with two fifties and three centuries, Root has already collected 600+ runs and is still going in the same fashion. Root, with 671 runs in this series at the end of Day 4, surpassed Virat Kohli, who made 655 runs in 2016-17 which was the previous highest run tally by an individual batter in an India-England Test series.
Bairstow transformed himself into the wild mode and with a double notched up his 24th half-century before smashing Shami for a boundary and hooking Siraj for a six. It was also his second fifty along with three centuries in his last five innings.
The duo brought up an unbeaten 150-run stand in just 197 deliveries late in the evening as England proceeded further towards completing a historic chase.
What to Expect on Day 5
England have an easy task on hand as they require just 119 runs to level the series 2-2, while India still need seven wickets to win the series. But this format offers spice in every hour and one won’t be surprised if we are in for an interesting final day of this series.