Root and Bairstow
World Test Championship

Root, Bairstow put England in command of mammoth chase

ENG v IND, fifth Test, day four talking points

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Joe Root (76*) and Jonny Bairstow (72*) established a brilliant partnership to put the hosts in charge during their run chase of 378.

England fight back to restrict India

Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant had a solid start to day four, as India aimed to extend their lead. There was a more aggressive intent from Pujara, but an attempted flashy cut against Stuart Broad cost him his wicket at 66 while Shreyas Iyer perished against the short-ball ploy, with Matthew Potts getting his scalp for 19

Pant who crossed his half-century, attempted a reverse sweep against Jack Leach but could not get the connection, walking back for 57. A procession then followed, as the remainder of the Indian batters failed to contribute much to the cause. 

Skipper Ben Stokes would clean up the final three wickets after lunch, as India were bowled out for 245. The target for England to chase down was 278. 

England openers start aggressively

England finally had a decent start from their openers, as they immediately put the pressure on the Indian bowlers. Zak Crawley looked solid, while Alex Lees was the aggressor. Lees raced away to his fifty – only the second of his career – in just 44 deliveries as England's score crossed the 100-run mark. 

The Indian bowlers failed to extract any exaggerated movement from the surface and were left firmly on the backfoot after the hosts' excellent start with the bat. But it was their skipper Jasprit Bumrah, who delivered the goods once again, breaking the partnership by bowling Crawley out for 46 to break the stand. 

Root, Bairstow steady the ship

India continued their momentum, with Bumrah dismissing Ollie Pope the first ball after tea. The wicket helped him overtake Kapil Dev as the Indian pacer with the most wickets in a series in England (23). Lees was run-out for 56 after a horrendous mix-up with Joe Root. India now had their tails up and England had to survive a tricky period. The experienced duo of Root and Jonny Bairstow did exactly that. 

The pair embarked on a 150-run stand, regularly rotating the strike while punishing the bad deliveries away for a boundary. Root brought up his half-century, as did Jonny Bairstow as they put England in a strong position to chase down the total on day five. The Indian pacers looked pretty ineffective against the brilliance of the pair, failing to trouble them as the runs continued to flow.  

England now need 119 runs for a victory, while India will need to scalp seven wickets to win the series. 

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