Eng v India 5th Test Day 5: Root and Bairstow complete record run chase at Edgbaston
England completed a record run chase on the fifth and final day to level the five-match Test series 2-2 with a seven-wicket win at Edgbaston on Tuesday.
Resuming at their overnight score of 259 for three in their chase of 378, England continued to finish on 378 for three in 76.4 overs.
England's overnight pair of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow carried the score forward. Both the batters were untroubled as they carried the innings forward swiftly. They needed 17.4 overs to complete the chase. Root finished unbeaten on 142 off 173 balls with 19 boundaries and one six. Bairstow also finished unbeaten on 114 off 145 balls with 15 boundaries and a six.
Jasprit Bumrah and Root were named the player of the series. Bairstow was named the player of the match.
India 1st Innings: 416 (84.5)
England 1st Innings: 284 (61.3)
India 2nd Innings: 245-3 (81.5)
England 2nd Innings: 378-3 (76.4 ov)
Fall of wickets: 1-107 (Zak Crawley-21.4 ov), 2-107 (Ollie Pope-23.1 ov), 3-109 (Alex Lees-24.1 ov)
Result: England won by 7 wickets
Middle order woes continue to haunt India
Review by Mayukh Bhattacharya
Having been in the driver seat for a major part of three days, team India were hopeful of making a dent to the “Bazball” era and take the Pataudi trophy 3-1. Instead, it was Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow who taught the Indian batters a thing or two about making the most of a flat wicket and left them licking their wounds as they ended up with a 2-2 result.
While the social media critics would point to the dropped catch from Hanuma Vihari and the contrasting coach-captaincy style of Rahul Dravid and Jasprit Bumrah as compared to Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli, the root problem lies elsewhere. Yes, the drop from Vihari proved costly as did some of the tactics on field by the inexperienced Bumrah. However, there is no hiding from the fact that the middle order failed to live up to the challenge once again for India, as has been the case in the last two years. Vihari (20 and 11), Virat Kohli (11 and 20) and Shreyas Iyer (15 and 19), accumulated 96 runs among them for a combined average of 16 across 6 innings. In contrast, England’s middle order accumulated 392 among Ollie Pope, Root and Bairstow, with Pope failing on both occasions. Root and Bairstow finished the series (which was a continuation from 2021) with averages of 105.3 and 50.5, respectively, while Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli ended with 34.0 and 27.7, respectively. Not to forget that Ajinkya Rahane, who was dropped, averaged 15.6 in the six innings that he played in.
On a wicket which was probably at its best on the third and fourth days, team India were in the driver’s seat to begin with a 132-run lead. On most occasions, such a substantial lead is enough to guarantee you a win with just a decent third innings score. That was obviously not expected to be the case against a team that was coming on the back of three back-to-back 250 plus run chases in the fourth innings. However, to lose the last seven wickets for 92 runs meant that India ended well short of the target they were probably looking to set for England.
This test match could have been long over had Ravindra Jadeja and Rishabh Pant not bailed India out from 98 for 5 in the first innings. While that hundred from Jadeja was worth its weight in gold, it also meant that India probably missed Ravi Ashwin’s tactical nous as a bowler in the fourth innings. The harsh truth remains the fact that India are over-reliant on the batting of Jadeja and Shardul Thakur only because our middle order continues to struggle for meaningful contributions. While Indian cricket fans need to give time to Rohit Sharma and Dravid to settle down as a captain-coach duo, we cannot continue to ignore the fact that our bowlers cannot take 20 wickets and win us games if the middle order cannot make substantial contributions. The 71st international hundred can wait, but lack of substantial scores cannot.
Dravid had mentioned at the start of the match that if England can hit their best deliveries, then good luck to them. Unfortunately, neither did they bowl too many good balls, nor did the batters give them enough cushion to play with.
England: Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (captain), Sam Billings (wicket-keeper), Matthew Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson
India: Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah (captain), Mohammed Siraj
Toss: England, elected to field
Venue: Edgbaston, Birmingham
Start time: 1030 hrs UK time
Match officials: Aleem Dar, Richard Kettleborough (On-field Umpires); Marais Erasmus (TV Umpire); Alex Wharf (Reserve Umpire); David Boon (Match-referee)
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