|| AFP ||
England defeated India in thrilling fashion to win the Covid-delayed fifth Test at Edgbaston on Tuesday by seven wickets.
Set 378, more than any other England team have made in the fourth innings to win a Test, the hosts achieved their target with more than two sessions to spare as Joe Root (142 not out) and Jonny Bairstow (114 not out) saw them to a victory that ensured the five-match series ended level at 2-2.
No target off limits for England
Cricket followers may have to revise their concept of a 'stiff chase' if England keep batting like this in the fourth innings of a Test.
England's pursuit of 378 in Birmingham followed successful chases of 277, 299 and 296 during a 3-0 whitewash of world champions New Zealand and this latest success means they have now won all four of their Tests under the new leadership duo of captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.
The in-form Root and Bairstow batted superbly, but one of the most impressive aspects of the Edgbaston run-chase was the performance of the struggling Alex Lees and Zak Crawley, who shared a century opening stand in 19.5 overs -- the fastest in England Test history.
Kohli theatrics no substitute for runs
India star Virat Kohli is one of the outstanding batsmen of his generation as evidenced by a record of over 8,000 runs including 27 hundreds at an average of nearly 50 from 102 Tests.
But scores of 11 and 20 at Edgbaston mean he has not scored an international century in any format since 2019, with the 33-year-old having just endured his worst IPL season for 13 years.
His attempts, while fielding, to wind up the England batsmen in Birmingham saw Kohli spoken to by the umpires. But few international players allow themselves to be 'talked out' and former India captain Kohli's actions looked like those of a man desperately trying to compensate for a lack of runs.
Slow play a blight on the game
Entertaining as much of the play was, there were times when both England and India were guilty of deliberately slowing the game down, particularly when batsmen tried to wind down the clock near the end of a day's play to ensure they did not face a full allocation of overs.
India were, however, fined 40 percent of their match fee and docked two World Test Championship points for maintaining a slow over-rate.