Relentless Root and Bairstow swing fifth Test back in England's favour against India

Dynamic duo's 150-run partnership on Day 4 at Edgbaston leads home team to brink of record run chase

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A magnificent 150-run partnership by Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow put England on the brink of a sensational victory in the fifth Test against India at Edgbaston on Monday.

India had set the home side a daunting record run chase of 378 after being bowled out for 245 in their second innings, with first innings centurion Rishabh Pant top-scoring with 57 and England captain Ben Stokes finishing with four wickets.

Opening pair Alex Lees and Zak Crawley then provided the England reply with a solid base and a quick-fire century partnership. They reached the 100-mark inside 20 overs with Lees racing to a 44-ball fifty before Jasprit Bumrah intervened.

Crawley was in desperate need of an innings and had looked good right up until shouldering arms to a Bumrah ball that clipped the top of off stump when he was on 46, leaving England 107-1 just before tea.

A slight wobble was on the way with Nick Pope out immediately after tea for a three-ball duck, with Bumrah claiming another wicket, and Lees following after being run out woefully by teammate Root after a 65-ball 56. Three wickets in 16 balls and England were now 109-3.

So India smelt blood but the dynamic duo of Root and Bairstow was now at the crease. What followed has become refreshingly familiar for England fans this summer under the new attacking mindset of captain Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.

Root and Bairstow - finishing unbeaten on 76 and 72, respectively - combined in a 150-run stand for the unbroken fourth wicket to put England's chase back on track. Bairstow now has scores of 136, 162, 71 not out, 106 and 72 not out in his last three Tests.

England were 259-3 at stumps needing 119 for a series-levelling victory on Tuesday. Their highest successful run chase came in 2019 when they reached a 359-run target in an Ashes Test against Australia on the back of Stokes's famous unbeaten century.

Earlier, Stokes ran through India's lower order and bowled out the tourists for 245. Pant followed his first-innings 146 with another half century and opener Cheteshwar Pujara contributed 66.

England subjected India's lower order to a short-ball barrage on a pitch with variable bounce and Shardul Thakur suffered painful bangs on the helmet in successive deliveries by Matthew Potts.

The tourists are 2-1 up in the series, which could not be completed last year following Covid-19 cases in the India camp ahead of the final match at Old Trafford.

England have just beaten New Zealand 3-0 in a series whitewash with each victory coming after chasing down scores of 277, 299 and 296. Overcoming a total of 378 against this Indian bowling attack would be something very special.

Updated: July 05, 2022, 11:16 AM
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