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Edgbaston Test Day 4: Alex Lees slams quickfire fifty as hosts start run chase on a dominant note before tea

Birmingham, July 4: Showcasing their aggressive intent with the bat, which has been their forte in the last month or so, England batters got off to a bright start in the fourth innings on day four of the rescheduled fifth Test against India at Edgbaston here on Monday (July 4).

At the end of the second session, England reached 107/1 in 23 overs, courtesy of some explosive batting from their opening pair of Alex Lees and Zak Crawley.

In the run chase of a mammoth 378 after restricting India to 245 in the second innings, Crawley and Lees shared a stand of 100 runs inside 20 overs. This was the first time when England have had three 100+ opening partnerships in a series against India since the home series in 1990.

The left-handed opener, Lees, started the proceedings on a dominant note with the bat and notched up his second Test fifty off just 44 deliveries, pushing Indian bowlers on the backfoot. Lees batted with an aggressive intent from the word go and attacked every Indian bowler on a surface that had not much to offer.

The southpaw got runs against Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Ravindra Jadeja and played some brilliant shots in his innings. Even Shardul Thakur went for runs as the Indians kept searching for their first breakthrough in the innings.

Indians finally managed to break the opening stand at the stroke of tea break when captain Bumrah brought himself back into the attack after the ball was changed. Bumrah cleaned up Crawley for 46 and breathed life into the Indian bowling attack.

Earlier in the session, captain Ben Stokes returned with a four-for and helped his team bundle Indians out for 245 in their second innings. By virtue of their first-innings lead, Indians thus took a lead of 377, setting a target of 378 for the hosts to chase and level the series.

Cheteshwar Pujara (66) and Rishabh Pant (57) were the highest run-scorers for the visitors in the second innings and it was their partnership which steadied the ship for India.

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Story first published: Monday, July 4, 2022, 20:48 [IST]
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