Brilliant England eye sensational win over India

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India 416 (Pant 146, Jadeja 104; Anderson 5-60) & 245 (Pujara 66, Pant 57; Stokes 4-33)
England 284 (Bairstow 106, Siraj 4-66) & 259-3 (Root 76*, Bairstow 72*)
England need 119 runs to win

England are closing in on a sensational win over India in the fifth Test after a riveting fourth day at Edgbaston.

Set a target of 378 – an England record – the home side thrillingly moved to 259-3, needing 119 more on the final day.

In an electric period in the afternoon, openers Alex Lees and Zak Crawley shared a century stand in 19.5 overs, the fastest England have ever reached 100 without loss.

India fought back with three wickets for two runs either side of tea, only for Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow to pick up the pursuit with an unbroken partnership of 150.


Root ended the day on 76 not out and Bairstow, who could have been caught twice, was unbeaten on 72.

It leaves the prospect of a classic finish in front of a capacity crowd on Tuesday, after the free tickets made available were snapped up in little more than an hour.

Earlier on Monday, India carelessly lost their last six wickets for 55 runs to be bowled out for 245.

Cheteshwar Pujara was out for 66 and Rishabh Pant 57 before England captain Ben Stokes ran through the lower order for 4-33.

India are 2-1 up and looking for their first series win in England since 2007, with this final Test held over from last year after it was postponed in September.

England believe at electric Edgbaston

Even by the standards of what England achieved in their 3-0 series win against New Zealand, it would be utterly remarkable if they were to complete this run chase – the ninth-largest in the history of Test cricket.

And yet, the confidence seeping out of the England dressing merged with the optimism of an expectant crowd to create a tidal wave of belief in Birmingham.

Even after India were suckered in by the home side’s short-ball tactics early in the day, England’s task seemed too large, but the way Lees and Crawley set about the chase was astonishing.

India’s counter-punch was just as intense, with former captain Virat Kohli’s histrionics putting him centre stage.

Any momentum the tourists had was quashed by Root and Bairstow, who will return on a pitch showing no demons and with the second new ball more than 20 overs away. India, meanwhile, will cling to the hope that they are only two wickets from England’s lower order.

Regardless of the result, this fourth day will live long in the memory.

England take shot at history

England have constantly said they are happy to chase any target, and will do so in an ultra-aggressive style, but to bounce along at such a rate against a high-quality attack was astounding.

Lees walked down the track to Mohammed Shami in the second over of the innings and later greeted the spin of Ravindra Jadeja with a biff down the ground followed by a reverse sweep. His 56 is his second Test half-century.

Crawley, previously bereft of form, showed much more certainty outside off stump. He grew into playing sweet drives until, on 46, his judgement failed and he left one that Jasprit Bumrah got to come back. India had just persuaded the umpires to change the ball.

It began a crazy period where Ollie Pope was caught behind off Bumrah from the first ball after tea, then Lees, who had verbally jousted with the Indians, was run out after failing to respond to Root’s call.

England were teetering, but the Root-Bairstow rebuild came at more than four runs an over. Bairstow, on 14, burst the hands of Hanuma Vihari at wide second slip with an edge off Mohammed Siraj and could have ben caught down the leg side by diving wicketkeeper Pant on 39.

By the end, with the field scattered and India scrambled, England were scoring runs at will. They will not have wanted the close to arrive.

Shell-shocked India let England in

If India go on to lose this match, they can reflect on this fourth day as the time they allowed England back in.

Bar the three wickets they took in 16 balls either side of tea, the tourists were outplayed. After their sloppy batting, they were left shell-shocked by England’s swashbuckling pursuit of their target.

Pujara and Pant were set when India resumed on 125-3. Though both reached half-centuries, their dismissals were loose. Pujara pushed Stuart Broad to a deep gully and Pant reverse-swept spinner Jack Leach to slip.

From there, four of the remaining five wickets to fall were to England’s short-ball plan as Stokes and Matthew Potts mopped up the tail.

Swept along by the emotion of England’s chase, vice-captain Pant burned two reviews on Root when captain Bumrah was off the field.

India must regroup and arrive on Tuesday with new plans and intensity, otherwise they will fall to a humbling defeat. Never before have they failed to defend such a large target in a Test.

‘India threw away their advantage’ – reaction

England opener Alex Lees, speaking to BBC Sport: “I played well but what’s disappointing for me is that I keep getting in and getting out. Obviously getting run out is not ideal but the manner in which I am playing, I’m happy with that. I just want to make big runs and make hundreds now.

“The first hour is really important for us so if Jonny and Root can get going again we should get over the line.”

Former England batter Mark Ramprakash on Test Match Special: “England are going to pull it off with relative ease. One of Bairstow or Root will be there until the end. India need early wickets.

“India didn’t utilise the pressure well enough. The series was on the line, and they pushed the fielders back too quickly. England were able to get singles too easily.”

Former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta on TMS: “India will be extremely disappointed. At the start of the day, India were well ahead in this Test match and now it seems like it is England’s game to lose.

“The whole thing happened when those wickets fell this morning, some of them were unnecessary shots and India threw away their advantage.”

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