The unbroken partnership of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow led to England’s stunning counter-attack with an unbeaten 269 runs in just 52.3 overs to win the match and tie India vs England Test series 2-2. Bairstow and Root helped England chase down the highest ever 4th innings total raised by India in Birmingham on Tuesday. The former England captain and one of the best batters in the world, Joe Root, finished the 5-match series with an impressive 142 not out. He scored a total of 737 runs in the series with four centuries and a stunning average of 105.28 and became the player of the series.
Bairstow scored his second hundred in the match with a total of 114 runs in 145 balls including fifteen boundaries and a six and became the man of the match. His century was over Jadeja, who was told to keep bowling over the wicket and that negated his chance of scoring any wicket. Alex Lees (56) and Zach Crawley (46) also added points to the scoreboard.
The result denied India from winning the series in England since 2007, which was possible at the end of day 3 with a lead of 257 runs with seven wickets left. But everything changed with the two brave and class batsmen of England who were completely in form, prepared to play their shots.
When the match began on Tuesday, England was 119 runs away from India and an early strike from India may’ve changed the entire situation. But Indian players were too flat and the bowlers were difficult to predict. The Indian bowlers, except Bumrah, didn’t exert any pressure on the ground and it led England to score more. Captain Bumrah agrees that “We were ahead in the game but they kept on fighting, and they played better than us in the second innings”.
After failing to successfully defend a target of 378 runs against England in the fifth Test, India’s head coach Rahul Dravid raised concerns about the bowler’s issues with fitness and consistency. “We have been very good at that over the last few years, in terms of taking wickets and winning those Test matches. But, yeah, we haven’t been able to do that over the last few months. It could be a variety of factors: it could be maybe we just need to maintain that intensity, maintain that level of fitness, or maintain that level of performance right through a Test match”, he said. The wicket didn’t break up as much as the bowlers expected it to and it would have been nice if a second spinner is added in the 4th innings.
It wasn’t the bowling alone that cause the defeat, but also the failure to achieve the target of 450 runs played a part in it. The batters were not able to finish well in the second innings and scored only 245 runs. Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, and Cheteshwar Pujara were the only players who scored in the innings.
England is rewriting history with the highest successful chase ever in Test cricket and the highest by any team against India.
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