Fifth Test: After Bairstow's Bazball, India on the ball on day three against England

At the end of the day, India were 125/3, taking a massive lead of 257 runs. Cheteshwar Pujara was batting on a 139-ball 50 while Rishabh Pant was on 30 off 46 balls at the other end.

Published: 04th July 2022 08:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2022 08:10 AM   |  A+A-

India's Cheteshwar Pujara, left, and India's Rishabh Pant leave the field at the end of play on the third day of the fifth cricket test match between England and India at Edgbaston. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  There was nearly a 10-month wait for this Test. And three days into the fifth Test, it already feels every bit worth the wait. Given the attacking brand of cricket played by England and India, it is hard to second guess how the Edgbaston Test will unfold over the next couple of days, but surely it has all the making for an edge-of-the-seat thriller.

All the talk prior to the fifth Test has been about “Bazball” and how India will confront it. In their previous series against New Zealand they scored at 4.54 runs per over and it is the brand that Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum duo have adopted to rescue the fortunes of England’s Test team.

And prior to the Test, as expectedly, India’s head coach Rahul Dravid was quizzed about the Bazball and the aggressive approach.

Dravid was unfazed pointing out how they have been picking up 20 wickets consistently to win Tests over the last couple of World Test Championship cycles.

Yet, you would never know how they would react until it comes. With a healthy first innings total to defend, on Day Two evening, Indian bowlers came all out on the attack. Getting the ball to move under gloomy conditions, it appeared they were up for the Bazball.

Going for wickets at all costs has been their mantra all along, and aided by rain interruption that kept Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami fresh, they went for the kill, dislodging England’s top-order. The only one to survive the relentless storm was Jonny Bairstow.

As Bairstow survived those 47 deliveries he faced on Day 2, abandoning his attacking approach, you knew what was coming on Day 3 with Stokes at the other end.

Bairstow is a key aspect of the Bazball. It is the right-hander and Stokes who can be banked to hit their way out of trouble.

In the last three home Tests he has played this summer, here is when he walked out: 56/3, 17/3 and 44/3. And in each of these innings, he has taken England out of the slump, scoring three consecutive centuries in breathtaking fashion.

The one against India on Day Three, Bairstow reached his 11th test century off 119 deliveries, was the slowest of his last three.

The attack that India are fielding is far superior to what New Zealand did, and each one of them happens to be a wicket-taker.

As Bairstow hit the top gear, you wondered if India would resort to do something that is out of their textbook — bowl a negative line using Ravindra Jadeja to frustrate the hosts – but hey, they have been the torchbearers of playing Tests in an aggressive way.

The only difference is they do it with the ball and here, they trusted their bowlers.

On Day Three morning, India started with Bumrah and Shami, looking for the early break-through. And the Bairstow-Stokes pair was equally up to it.

They didn’t waste much time, they rode the luck at times – which is part and parcel of the sport – and the moment that everyone waited for arrived in the 33rd over.

Having played 60 deliveries, Bairstow was on 13.

And from there on, anything that was pitched full or short and offered room, disappeared for boundary (according to CricViz data, Bairstow scored at a SR of 119 to full balls and 107 for short balls).

He scored 88 runs off the next 60 deliveries as Shardul Thakur went 6 an over after removing Stokes.

Bairstow looked the part and India, too, didn’t blink. And with a big total on board, India finally turned to Jadeja in the 51st over to get some control which the left-armer delivered.

When there is nothing happening on the wicket, India’s go-to-ploy is to deliver dot balls. And Bumrah, after giving away only two runs of his three overs, and Jadeja three for two overs, brought Shami back.

Bairstow with no boundaries for 19 consecutive deliveries went after a wide one, only for the edge to be caught by Virat Kohli at first slip as England eventually folded for 284, giving India 132-run lead.

At the end of the day, India were 125/3, taking a massive lead of 257 runs. Cheteshwar Pujara was batting on a 139-ball 50 while Rishabh Pant was on 30 off 46 balls at the other end.

Scoreboard: India 1st innings 416. England 1st Innings (O/N: 84-5): Bairstow c Kohli b Shami 106, Stokes c Bumrah b Thakur 25, Billings b Siraj 36, Broad c Pant b Siraj 1, Potts c Iyer b Siraj 19, Anderson (not out) 6. Extras: (b16, lb5, nb13, w1) 35, Total: (all out, 61.3 ovs) 284. FoW: 5-83, 6-149, 7-241, 8-248, 9-267. Bowling: Bumrah 19-3-68-3; Shami 22-4-78-2; Siraj 11.3-2-66-4; Thakur 7-0-48-1); Jadeja 2-0-3-0. India 2nd innings: Gill C Crawley b Anderson 4, Pujara (batting) 50, Vihari c Bairstow b Broad 11, Kohli c Root b Stokes 20, Pant (batting) 30. Extras: (lb 7, nb 2, w1) 10, Total: (3 wickets, 45 ovs) 125. FoW: 1-4, 2-43, 3-75. Bowling: Anderson 14-5-26-1, Broad 12-1-38-1, Potts 8-2-20-0, Leach 1-0-5-0, Stokes 7-0-22-1, Root 3-1-70.

India Matters


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