Nottingham, Aug 7: England captain Joe Root slammed a brilliant ton in the second innings as his team scored 303 on day four and set a target of 209 to win the opening Test here at Trent Bridge. At the end of the day's play on Saturday (August 7), India reached 52 for 1 and were still behind by 157 runs.
The fourth day of the opening game of the five-match series was a brilliant day of Test cricket. While Root showcased his batting exploits with his knock of 109 to help the hosts take a lead of 208 runs, Jasprit Bumrah was the star for Indians with the ball as the right-arm quick completed his sixth five-wicket haul in the red-ball format.
Bumrah once again proved how lethal a bowler he could be with the new ball when he gave quick blows to the hosts after India took the second new ball.
At the end of the day's play, Indians reached 52 for the loss of KL Rahul's wicket. The Karnataka batsman who was the highest scorer for the tourists in the first innings was dismissed by Stuart Broad for 26.
Later, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara saw through the remaining overs before the close of play and ensured the visitors didn't lose any wickets. The match is still evenly poised and it will be interesting to see how it pans out on the final day - which might be interrupted by rainy spells.
England made a strong comeback on day four as they took a substantial 208-run lead over India. Root led the charge with the bat as he slammed his Test career's 21st century and his first at home after 2018. The right-handed batsman from Yorkshire constructed his innings pretty well as he ensured his team kept scoring at a healthy pace. In the final session, England added runs quickly on the board and they would now fancy their chances of restricting the visitors to register a famous win.
England had resumed in the morning on 25 without loss with a considerable deficit still to deal with, the hosts eventually moving in front for the loss of Rory Burns (18) and Zak Crawley (six).
In cricket's version of the tortoise and the hare, the imperious Root raced past the dogged Dom Sibley during a third-wicket stand worth 89. The alliance came to an end when the latter played an uncharacteristically loose drive having reached 28, an inside edge off Bumrah well caught by wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.
Jonny Bairstow looked in excellent touch in reaching 30 but a pull shot only found Ravindra Jadeja in the deep, while Shardul Thakur removed both Dan Lawrence (25) and Jos Buttler (17), who was bowled offering no stroke, either side of tea.
Root eventually fell to the second new ball, with England slipping from 274-6 following the departure of their talismanic leader.
Bumrah sent back Sam Curran, who made a useful 32, and Stuart Broad with successive deliveries to get his sixth five-wicket haul in Tests, Mohammed Shami then claiming the final wicket as Ollie Robinson was caught at third man for 15.
Broad struck a much-needed blow when Rahul was caught behind, yet that was England's solitary success with the ball in 14 overs prior to the close.
Root underlined his immense importance to England with a fourth Test century in 2021. He is the only player to pass 1,000 runs in the format in the calendar year, aided by making two double centuries during England's busy winter schedule.
This memorable knock spanned 172 deliveries and included 14 boundaries, one of which was a glorious straight drive that saw him reach three figures. He began celebrating before the ball had crossed the rope, raising both arms aloft.
Bumrah missed out on a five-wicket haul in the first innings but made sure he reached the landmark the second time around, meaning he will finish with match figures of 9-110.
The pace bowler certainly likes playing at Trent Bridge, having claimed 5-85 at the venue on India's 2018 tour to help his team clinch victory on that occasion. He will hope to be on the winning side again this time too, provided his batsmen can finish the job on Sunday.
(With Inputs from OPTA)