Birmingham, July 4 (IANS) Former India head coach Ravi Shastri believes that the visitors are in a great position in the rescheduled fifth Test at Edgbaston, with the lead standing at 361 on day four despite losing four wickets in the first session.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant made 66 and 57 respectively as India reached 229/7 in 73 overs in second innings at lunch on a pitch starting to show signs of variable bounce and some turn for the spinners.
Shastri added that England will need something special from their batters to chase the final total, which is going to be the highest total which the hosts will attempt to chase down this year and at this venue as well. Before facing India in Edgbaston, England had chased down 277, 299 and 296 in their 3-0 sweep of New Zealand in June.
“India are in a fabulous position. They would have said 350 minimum and anything else is a bonus. Chasing over 350 on a fourth-day, fifth-day track is never easy with a spinner in play. There is rough outside the left-hander’s off stump and Jadeja is surely going to use that. It won’t be easy one bit for England. With that up-and-down bounce as well, it will need something special from England,” said Shastri during the lunch break show on Sky Sports.
In the first innings, barring Jonny Bairstow’s 106, rest of the England batters weren’t able to match up to his efforts, bowled out for 284 in 61.3 overs, conceding a 132-run lead to India. Now with them set for a stiff chase at Edgbaston, former England cricketer Mark Butcher is expecting England to give the chase in fourth innings ‘a red-hot go’.
“Even the most cynical of curmudgeons will feel evangelical about Bazball if England pull this off. It’s 361 runs so far and you would think more to come – India might push the lead up beyond 400 and then I cannot see how this happens for England. This India bowling attack is very, very good, a level above the New Zealand one England decimated last month. But it will be entertaining and England will give it a red-hot go,” opined Butcher.
India are currently 2-1 up in the five-match series against England and a victory in Edgbaston will give them just their fourth series win in England after 1971, 1986 and 2007.