Former Indian pace bowler Zaheer Khan said Indian bowlers would have to put collective efforts to make a strong comeback on the final day of the ongoing fifth Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
India have almost dominated the first three days of the rescheduled Test match in the quest to win their first Test series in England since 2007. But the final two sessions of Day 4 belonged to the hosts because of their fearless batting. Barring Jasprit Bumrah, no other Indian bowler made any impact to defend the 378 on the board as England inched closer to their highest chase in Test cricket.
England openers Alex Lees (56) and Zak Crawley (46) laid the foundation for the chase with their opening stand of 107. The duo had a clear intent of scoring runs at pace as England reached 100 in 20 overs.
Bumrah brought himself into the attack and cleaned up Crawley with a nip backer just before the tea break. On the other side of the break, Bumrah sent Ollie Pope packing on the first ball of the final session of the day. Pope tickled Bumrah’s angling delivery behind the stumps and departed for a nought. In the next over of Ravindra Jadeja, Lees was run out in a mix-up with Joe Root, the latter was at the fault for his misjudged call.
ENG vs IND: Jasprit Bumrah needs support from the other bowlers: Zaheer Khan
England’s experienced pair of Root and Jonny Bairstow didn’t succumb to the pressure and held their nerves to keep the hosts alive in the enthralling clash. The pair was unseparated in their 150-run alliance with Root unbeaten at 76 (nine fours) and first-innings centurion Bairstow looked more composed in his 87-ball 72 (eight fours and a six). England finished the day at 259 for three wickets down and are 119 runs away from their target.
“Bumrah needs support from the other bowlers. When (Mohammed) Shami was bowling with him, it seemed opportunities could be created. But if India are thinking of victory, all the bowlers will have to deliver. India need to work on their mentality and come out with an assertive mindset on Day 5,” Zaheer said on Cricbuzz.
“They cannot be defensive because they do not have enough runs to play with. They need to attack and claim early wickets. If they can knock over a couple early, they can put pressure back on England. Bowl seven wicket-taking deliveries quickly, that’s it,” he added.
India will have to hope for overcast conditions: Zaheer Khan
Zaheer, who picked 311 Test wickets in 92 Tests for India, said the visitors should bank on the overcast conditions if they happen to change and get a couple of wickets in the early overs to put pressure on the opposition.
“India will have to hope for overcast conditions so that they can get a couple of wickets early. But England are definitely ahead of India now. Credit to them for the fightback after being behind in the game for so long,” he said.