December 5, 2023
India 416 (Pant 146, Jadeja 104; Anderson 5-60) & 245 (Pujara 66, pant 57; Stokes 4-33)
England 284 (Bairstow 106, SE 4-66) & 378-3 (Root 142*, Bairstow 114*)
England won by seven wickets. 2-2 . tied series

England carelessly completed a record chase of 378 to beat India in fast time on the final morning of the fifth Test at Edgbaston.

Centuries of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow have taken England to the top of their successful Test cricket quest and the ninth largest in the game’s history.

Root and Bairstow needed 119 again from 259-3 overnight, making an incredibly easy run, to lead England to an unforgettable win by seven wickets, one of their greatest ever victories.

Bairstow did not come out with a score of 114 which was the second century of the match, while Root finished undefeated on 142 in an unbroken partnership of 269.

They have taken England to a new level in what is turning into a fantastic summer under new captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCollum.

The win ensures that the series that was postponed last summer is withdrawn 2-2, but more importantly, it is the biggest verification yet of England’s very positive style of test cricket.

Their next series will be with South Africa in August, while an entirely different team led by new white ball captain Gus Butler plays the first of three T20 matches against India on Thursday.

Bazball rises to new heights

Just five weeks ago, Test cricket was in a slump, with McCollum and Stokes tasked with reviving a team that had won just once in 17 attempts.

While the 3-0 win over New Zealand was exciting, it felt like a different opportunity to play “Bazball” against the strong Indians.

The hosts were under tremendous pressure at various times during this match. It was 83-5 in response to 416 in India’s first round, then on Monday India led by 322 seconds with five second-round points in hand.

However, England’s insistence on chasing after any target held true, thanks in large part to their arrogant progress in a sparkling fourth era.

Oddly enough, given the magnitude of the result, the morning of the fifth day was almost anti-climate.

Edgbaston was far from full despite taking all the free tickets available, while Root and Bairstow eliminated the small menace that remained in the chase.

This takes nothing away from what England have accomplished – fixing 378 for only losing three wickets is really cool.

What can New England go on to achieve?

Root and Bairstow drive England merry

The superlatives of England’s Yorkshire batsman pair have always been exhausted. This was Bairstow’s fourth hundred in five rounds and sixth this year, Root has achieved 11 since the start of 2021.

Their rebuilding from 109-3 on Monday has India torn apart. When Root resumed at 76 and Bairstow 72 on Tuesday morning, there were still players scattered in India, allowing the running to flow.

Play the dreamy root drives and clips of pads. After Muhammad Siraj ran into the third man for his 28th trial ton, he launched the trick shots. Chardol Thakur was strapped to his head for four, then reversed for six.

Bairstow was more cautious, but still hit anything short. He only showed his nerve at 99, going three characters with one pinched by Ravindra Jadeja and celebrating with a passionate embrace from Root.

By the end, their partnership was the fourth-highest of any pair in the fourth rounds of testing, while the chase-run surpassed England’s previous record of 359, set when Stokes stunned Australia at Headingley in 2019.

The victory, a formality for most of the morning, was completed about half an hour before lunch.

India misses their chance

This is a crushing defeat for India. Last summer, they were the team by far the superior, but they canceled the fifth Test after the outbreak of the Covid virus in their back staff and have now lost their first win in England since 2007.

Not only that, but this is the biggest goal they failed to defend in Test cricket.

They made a choice error in deleting spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, carelessly shedding a dominant position when they were hitting in their second innings, and then being completely passive as England overwhelmed them in the running chase.

Could the tourists have avoided mistakes had Jaspreet Bumrah not had to stand behind Captain Rohit Sharma, who is disqualified with Covid?

Realistically, the way England played, nothing would stop them.

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