England have built a position from which to push to make history on the final day of an engrossing Investec Test at Edgbaston.
Winning any match having batted first and trailed by more than 100 runs is a tough ask. It has rarely been achieved – and never in an Edgbaston Test. But England are in with a chance of accomplishing it tomorrow.
Edgbaston’s Test history brims with bowling heroics.cite=
It will be difficult on a good batting pitch against a tough, talented, tenacious Pakistan team. England will resume on the final morning on 414 for five, leading by 311 and that Alastair Cook’s side lost only five wickets on the fourth day suggests they have their work cut out to take ten on the fifth – but Edgbaston’s Test history brims with bowling heroics.
Think Wilfred Rhodes (11-3-17-7 v Australia in 1902); Ian Botham (14-9-11-5 v Australia in 1891); James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn (a collective 39.3-16-68-10 v Pakistan in 2010). Will there be an addition to that list tomorrow?
England resumed on the fourth morning on 120 without loss after Cook and Alex Hales had balanced the game right up by compiling a century partnership the previous evening, but Pakistan soon dismissed both in the space of nine balls.
That had Pakistan’s fans in a 16,000 crowd on their feet but Joe Root and James Vince steadied the ship with a stand of 95 in 35 overscite=
Having added 126, they fell to excellent catches in the space of nine balls. Cook (66, 103 balls, seven fours) lifted a cut at Sohail Khan and was adroitly taken at point by Yasir Shah and Hales (54, 131 balls, ten fours) was superbly clutched at second slip by Younis Khan off Mohammad Amir.
That had Pakistan’s fans in a 16,000 crowd on their feet but Joe Root and James Vince steadied the ship with a stand of 95 in 35 overs. Root reached 62 (123 balls, eight fours) before top-edging a sweep at Shah to short fine-leg.
Vince again tasted the frustration of getting in but not going on when on 42 (123 balls, seven fours) he received the first delivery with the new ball, from Amir, and edged it to second slip.
For Pakistan to win, they need to post the biggest run-chase in Edgbaston Test history.cite=
When Gary Ballance (28, 70 balls, four fours) turned Shah into the hands of leg-slip, England were 282 for five – 179 ahead, with 28 overs left in the day. The game could hardly have been better balanced.
Aware that further quick wickets could send their team into trouble, Jonny Bairstow (82 not out, 124 balls, eight fours) and Moeen Ali (60 not out, 84 balls, eight fours) played cautiously at first, before accelerating in glorious late evening sunshine. Serenaded by the occupants of the Hollies Stand, including one dressed as a lobster, they added an unbroken 132 up to stumps.
For Pakistan to win, they need to post the biggest run-chase in Edgbaston Test history. As for England, well can the bowlers deliver those heroics?