India vs England 5th Test: Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow slam unbeaten hundreds as England beat India to level series 2-2 | Cricket News – Times of India

“Sometimes teams will be better than us, but no one will be braver than us,” proclaimed England skipper Ben Stokes at the presentation after high quality, unbeaten hundreds from Jonny Bairstow (114*; 145 balls, 15×4, 1×6) and Joe Root (142*; 173 balls, 19×4, 1×6) and their unbroken partnership of 269 in just 52.3 overs helped England chase down the highest ever fourth-innings total on English soil on a heady Day Five in Birmingham on Tuesday. The result denied India a series win, that looked possible at the end of Day Three when they were 257 ahead with seven wickets left and had clinched seven sessions out of the nine played.
That happened because England were both “braver” and “better” than India, especially on the last two days. And they had two in-form, class batsmen, who, armed with clarity in the dressing room, were prepared to play their strokes, which negated a quality seam attack. Bairstow, who scored his second hundred of the match and his sixth in his last eight, having scored only six in the previous 79, was named man of the match. Root, England’s talisman and perhaps the best batter in the world now, took home the man-of-the -series honours with 737 runs and four hundreds at a stunning average of 105.28. His nine Test tons are the most that any player has scored against India.

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Stand-in India skipper Jasprit Bumrah was named India’s player of the series for his 23 wickets. When play began on Tuesday, England were 119 runs adrift and an early strike or two could change the momentum for India. But the visitors were simply too flat, and their bowlers too wayward. Some of the field settings and tactics were curious.

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AFP Photo
As many as 65 of Root’s 142 runs came square of the wicket on the off-side and 36 came via the flick shot through mid-wicket.

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It meant the bowling was on both sides of the wicket. Barring a few overs from Bumrah just before and after tea on Day Four, the rest of the Indian bowlers just didn’t exert any pressure.
Root, who now has 28 Test hundreds, got to three figures first, courtesy a delectable late cut off an utterly disappointing Mohammed Siraj, whose ploy of using the scrambled seam deliveries consistently instead of the seam up ball, merits some hard talk from the coaching staff. Either in celebration, or in search of a hefty IPL contract, Root then reverse scooped Shardul Thakur for six.

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Thakur seems to have dropped at least 10 kms in pace from the high 130s and the occasional 140 kmph mark he consistently hit in Australia and South Africa.

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Bairstow got to his second hundred of the game off Ravindra Jadeja, who strangely was told to keep bowling over the wicket, which negated any chance of him taking wickets.

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The beefy Yorkshireman, who was terrorized by the incoming delivery when the series was played last year, got into wonderful positions to meet the same ball early in both the innings. The result: compact centuries in each innings, a feat last registered by Andrew Strauss for England in 2008 in Chennai.
There had previously been only two successful fourth-innings chases above 200 at Edgbaston. But with the ‘Bazball’ approach, England are rewriting history books.

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