By: Mohit Singhal
IND Vs ENG: Former captain Joe Root and super-striker of the ball Jonny Bairstow set the stage ready for the hosts to clinch the 5th and the last test match of the series and equalize the series 2-2. The duo put on an undefeated partnership of 150 that took the equation out of India’s control.
The ultimate Indian pace battery looked unanswerable to the pair’s majestic determination and focused innings as England reached the score of 259 for the loss of just 3 wickets at the stumps of day 4.
Earlier, the Indian batting unit failed miserably in the 2nd innings and got all-out at the mere score of 245 to set the record target of 378 for the 'Three Lions'. Rishabh Pant scored 57 runs while Cheteshwar Pujara made 66 runs. English skipper Ben Stokes’ spell proved to be the turning point for them as he picked up 4 wickets in just 11.5 overs.
After India's innings, it seemed that it is visitor's game considering that England has never chased this much score in their test career, but the start that their openers gave was something special.
Alex Lees and Jack Crawley shared a 107-run stand for 1st wicket in just 21.4 overs before stand-in-skipper Jasprit Bumrah strikes for the visitors to send Crawley back in the hunt.
Looks like the “Bazball” approach has been configured into the minds of the English players as opener Lees played almost with a strike rate of 100 or above. In a 65-balls outing, Lees scored 56 runs with 8 boundaries in the innings.
However, Bumrah handed India a comeback in the game after scalping two wickets in quick intervals. After dismissing Crawley, he edged Ollie Pope straight to the keeper’s gloves to strike twice in the very next over. The game almost changed when Lees also got run-out amidst a miscommunication between him and Root.
Nevertheless, this didn’t interrupt the motivation with which England is currently playing as Root alongside Jonny Bairstow dismantled the Indian bowling with their go-to approach and intensity to score runs, not to defend though.
Root is unbeaten on 76 in 112 balls with 9 fours while Bairstow continuing his rich vein playing on 72 in 87 balls with 8 boundaries and a six.
Their partnership has almost made the play in the hosts' favour as it won’t be tough for these two to score 119 runs in 90 complete overs and take England home.
Progressing the day on an overnight score of 125/3, Indian batting couldn’t capitalize on that and collapsed on 245, adding just 120 runs and losing 7 wickets. In this, Cheteshwar Pujara was one of the positives and played a marathon inning of 66 in 168 balls.
Rishabh Pant too had a good outing in this test match scoring a hundred and a half-century in the test match. He became the only keeper batter from India to achieve this feat. He also became the only batter after Virat Kohli to score 200 runs in a test match in SENA countries after 2011.
Kohli did it 5 times in the previous decade. Apart from it, he is only the fifth batter after Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and Virat Kohli to achieve the feat of scoring 200 in a SENA test match.
Now, fifth and the crucial day awaits where England will look to score the required runs as soon as possible and level the series whereas India will look to pick up wickets in hurdle to win the match and clinch the “Pataudi Trophy” after 15 years.