Root and Bairstow put England in sight of record chase against India

Nicholas McGee
Stats Perform
Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow have put England in position to pull off a record chase
Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow have put England in position to pull off a record chase

England need 119 runs to win the rearranged fifth Test and secure a drawn series with India after a superb day four put them in position to pull off a record chase.

Delayed by a year after a COVID-19 outbreak in the India camp forced a Test originally scheduled for Old Trafford to be cancelled, a fascinating conclusion is in store at Edgbaston.

The hosts will have confidence of chasing down 378 after reaching stumps on 259-3 with the two men who hit the winning runs as England clinched a 3-0 win over New Zealand last week - Joe Root (76 not out) and Jonny Bairstow (72no) continuing their outstanding form.

India, who have dominated much of this match, were earlier dismissed for 245, and a seemingly ominous target that would break England's previous record chase of 362 against Australia in 2019.

Stokes (4-33) polished off the India tail with the final three wickets. Prior to that, Matthew Potts (2-50) did much of the hard work in reducing the tourists - who were 125-3 at the start of play - from what had looked like a commanding position at 153-3, with smart hands from Root allowing Jack Leach to remove the dangerous Rishabh Pant (57).

Despite getting little from their lower order, India may have felt comfortable defending such a lofty target. Any such feeling was quickly dispelled as Alex Lees and Zak Crawley belied their struggles opening the batting by reaching 100 inside 20 overs.

Crawley was denied his 50 as he left a Jasprit Bumrah delivery that clipped off stump and when the same bowler removed Ollie Pope for a duck and Lees was run out after tea, India looked to be turning the tide.

But as they did consistently against New Zealand, Root and Bairstow wrested the momentum in aggressive fashion, both once again displaying the fluency and timing that has turned England's Test fortunes around and could now rescue this series.


Anderson achieves another milestone

Jimmy Anderson was not overly involved in limiting India's second-innings lead in a wicket-taking capacity, but his catch at midwicket to dismiss Shreyas Iyer saw him join a select group as he claimed his 100th catch.

Indeed, he became the sixth player in Tests to register 1000 runs, 100 wickets and 100 catches. Also on that list are Garfield Sobers, Ian Botham, Carl Hooper, Shane Warne and Jacques Kallis.

Lees and Crawley lay platform

Lees' half-century came in just 44 balls, making it the fourth-fastest by an England opener. His stand of 107 with Crawley was England's sixth fourth-innings opening partnership of 100 or more this century. It was also the highest such England partnership at Edgbaston.

After a Bumrah-inspired blip, Root and Bairstow took advantage of that platform, putting on 150 in 197 balls. Bairstow's lone six was England's 58th of 2022, putting them seven shy of their record total of 65 from 2005 with a three-Test series with South Africa and a tour of Pakistan still to come.

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