WATCH 5TH TEST, DAY 4 HIGHLIGHTS: Root, Bairstow set out to chase 378 after India fall to short-ball ploy
England may have been the second best team for the first three days of the Edgbaston Test match but when they walked off at the end of Day 4, the Bazball naysayers, too, tagged them as favourites to chase down a record 378 in the final innings.
For India, the results of their third innings labour, when they managed to score 245, meant they set England a target they have never chased down before in Test history. Heading into the final day, the Indian bowlers will have to toil harder on a wearing pitch to pick up the remaining 7 wickets before the hosts knock off the 119 runs needed for series parity.
When the day began, India lead by 257 runs but their hopes of setting a target north of 400 were thwarted as they lost their last 7 wickets for 92 runs as England made clever use of a short-ball ploy with four wickets falling to it.
Set 378 to chase, England openers, Alex Lees (56) and Zak Crawley (46), made a mad dash for the target and scored at nearly 5.30 runs an over in the first 10 overs as the duo provided a strong foundation with a partnership worth 107.
Post-Tea, Crawley was the first to depart as he left a ball from Jasprit Bumrah that jagged back in late to clip the top of off stump. Ollie Pope lasted just three balls as he nicked off a short of a length delivery in the fourth stump channel off the Indian captain and six balls later, Lees and Root committed harakiri that saw the former run-out at the non-striker's end to leave England reeling at 109-3.
Root and Bairstow each survived a few scares to weather the storm and registered their respective half-centuries to put England in the driver's seat in a historic chase. Root struck nine boundaries for an unbeaten and well-composed 76 while Bairstow continued his stellar form to walk off not out on 72 off just 87 deliveries while hitting 8 boundaries and a six. In the process, Bairstow brought up 10,000 International runs across formats.
Vikram Rathour, India's batting coach, lamented India's ordinary day with the bat in the post-day press conference: "Today was the day we were ahead. We should have actually batted better and put them out of the game with our batting. But unfortunately we didn't do that."