England tightened their grip on the rearranged fifth Test against India, with just 119 runs away from a series-leveling win and seven wickets in hand, despite Jasprit Bumrah’s brilliant spell on day four of the contest at Edgbaston on Monday.
Bumrah’s heroics were short-lived as Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow stood strong, forging a solid 150-run unbeaten stand for the fourth wicket, foiling India’s plan to take control of the rescheduled Test on a penultimate day in Birmingham. England reached 259 for 3 at the close of play on Day 4 with Root (76*) and Bairstow (72*) batting in the middle.
With plenty of time left in the Test, England have got a perfect platform to not only square the series 2-2 but also surpass its previous successful run chase of 362-9 against Australia at Leeds in 2019. England successfully chased down close to 300 runs in all three matches against the Kiwis.
Bumrah’s twin strikes had thwarted England’s counter-attacking start as the stand-in captain knocked over Zak Crawley for 46 at the stroke of tea and then removed Ollie Pope on the very first delivery of the final session. Alex Lees and Crawley had provided England a fantastic start as the opening duo added 107 runs in just 21.4 overs in their pursuit of 378 runs against India in the series-deciding Test at Edgbaston on Monday.
Lees was the next English batter to fall as a misunderstanding with Joe Root saw him walking back after a fantastic knock of 56 runs. Root then joined hands with first-innings centurion and in-form batter Jonny Bairstow for an unbeaten 108-run fourth-wicket stand to keep the Indian bowlers at bay.
INDIA SET 378-RUN TARGET
Earlier, Ben Stokes rose to the occasion to fold India’s tail with his four-wicket haul as the tourists were bowled out for 245, setting England a victory target of 378 on day four.
Matthew Potts (2/50) and Stuart Broad (2/58) struck in the first session after India resumed at 125/3 on Day 4. Cheteshwar Pujara poked a wide delivery from Broad and got caught at the backward point after scoring a gutsy 66. Shreyas Iyer, who walked in at No.6, fell to the short ball ploy as Potts bounced him out for 19.
Rishabh Pant went in a bid to reverse-sweep left-arm spinner Jack Leach as Joe Root took a sharp catch in the slips. Potts then bounced out Shardul Thakur who suffered back-to-back knocks on the helmet in successive deliveries before being dismissed for four. England had hit back with four wickets in an intriguing first session before India stretched its lead to 361 by reaching 229/7 by lunch.
Stokes then folded India’s tail, which put up a staunch resistance in the first innings. Mohammed Shami holed out off a short delivery; first-innings century-maker Ravindra Jadeja (23) played onto England’s skipper and Bumrah was caught in the deep after striking a six-over fine leg.