India and England share spoils of the Test series as Bairstow and Root steal limelight
It is not too often that you stay witness to a staggering total of 378 being chased down in the fourth innings of a Test. England tumbled their personal record of their highest-ever chase in a Test match and romped over India by a staggering 7 wickets to share the spoils of an otherwise extraordinary series.
Batting first, India piled up 416 in the opening innings, thanks to centuries from Rishabh Pant, who toyed with the English attack while Ravindra Jadeja dropped the anchor at the other end, only to take out the heavy artillery when he was asked to bat with the tail. Pant never seemed to lack confidence as he was relentless in his pursuit of excellence, taking a special liking for Jack Leach who would be the most expensive English bowler in the first innings.
To add to Pant and Jadeja’s diligent enterprises, Jasprit Bumrah chimed in with another historical feat that saw him rattling the long-standing record of Brian Lara, to become the man with the highest number of runs in a single over in Test cricket as he took out Stuart Broad for an overwhelming 35.
The Indian bowlers burst into life early in the first English innings as Jasprit Bumrah spearheaded the Indian charge with Alex Lees, Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope returning to the pavilion even before the hosts realized what were they up against. Mohammed Shami produced an absolute ripper to remove Jack Leach while Mohammed Siraj conjured a screamer to get hold of the big fish of Joe Root.
Jonny Bairtsow coupled with resistance from Sam Billings, took the fight back to India and despite Siraj’s four-fer display to mope up the English tail, England managed to pile up 284, reducing the gap between the two teams to 132.
The Indian batters suffered an early blow in the second innings as Shubman Gill’s attempt at being aggressive backfired. Despite a steely resolve from Cheteshwar Pujara, he ran short of support at the other end as the remainder of India's top 4 couldn’t cook up something significant to keep the momentum intact.
It was once again Rishabh Pant who would take it upon himself to join forces with Pujara and bail India out of imminent danger. The duo put together 78 runs for the fourth wicket before Stuart Broad came up with a breakthrough. Pant’s attacking intent wouldn’t bear fruit either as Jack Leach who was ripped to shreds in the first innings of the contest by the Indian wicket-keeper, would spell doom for the southpaw in the second innings.
India's lead however swelled to 377, setting England a rather challenging total, and would usually be considered match-winning. Chasing a staggering 378, the English openers showed the way for the chase with the run-rate being a steady 4.5 plus for the hosts. However, the Indians would claim 3 wickets in a span of just 2 runs that would stay witness to Crawley and Pope returning to the pavilion as Bumrah stitched his might while Alex Lees being a victim of a mix-up between him and Root, ushering hope of a remarkable series win in England.
Sadly, that would be the last leap of triumph for the visitors as Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow would carve open the Indian bowling and leave them with a bitter pill to swallow.
The immediate focus for the men in blue would be the shorter formats as they take on England for three T20Is and three ODIs, starting tomorrow at the Rose Bowl.