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Fifth Test: Perfect start for England in tricky chase; 107/1 at tea

India set England a record 378-run target

crawley-rees-reuters England's Zak Crawley and Alex Lees celebrate their 100-run partnership in the fifth Test match against India at Edgbaston | Reuters

Under-fire England openers Alex Lees and Zak Crawley displayed a lot of positive intent, taking England to 107 for one at tea on day four after India set a record 378-run target in the rescheduled fifth Test at Edgbaston on Monday.

India managed to get the breakthrough towards the end of session with Jasprit Bumrah cleaning up Zak Crawley (46 off 76), who misjudged a leave, when a delivery darted in from length.

India could only consume 8.5 overs after lunch to be bowled out for 245 in their second innings.

The tail did not wag compared to first innings but specialist batters gifting their wickets away prevented India from getting a lead in excess of 400.

Even then, a target of 378 remains a Herculean task but England began strongly with Lees (56 off 61) and Crawley finally getting some much needed runs.

They came out with an aggressive approach and put the pressure on the Indian pacers, who didn't get any assistance from the pitch or lateral movement.

England raced to 53 for no loss in nine overs with Lees collecting two fours off Ravindra Jadeja in his very first over. He stepped out of the crease to hit the first one past mid-off while the second came from a reverse sweep.

Crawley got going with a flick towards square leg off Jasprit Bumrah before a crisp straight drive off Mohammad Shami.

The Indians got closest to getting a wicket was in the 15th over when they appealed for a catch off Crawley's attempted reverse sweep but replays confirmed the ball bounced before jumping up off the pads on way to the short-leg fielder.

Lees got to his second Test fifty in the following over with a classy back foot punch off Mohammad Siraj.

India were able to ball only one maiden over out of 20 they bowled in the session.

Siraj resorted to bowling with a scrambled seam but that also did not put the openers in any sort of discomfort.

Earlier, India gifted easy wickets to England but Rishabh Pant's half-century allowed them to extend their lead to 361 runs at lunch.

Resuming their second innings at 125 for three, overnight batters Cheteshwar Pujara (66 off 168) and Pant (57 off 86) made a confident start.

Pujara got going with a back-foot punch and a flick off James Anderson for consecutive boundaries.

Compared to his first innings heroics, Pant looked more measured in his approach.

Pujara, who had reached the 50-run mark on Sunday, was hardly troubled by the English pacers. Pant and Pujara's job was made easier with Ben Stokes giving three overs to part-timer Joe Root after start of play.

The Saurashtra batter, however, contributed to his own downfall by but cutting a short and wide ball off Stuart Broad straight to backward point. It is his pet shot but couldn't keep it down for a change.

Shreyas Iyer (19 off 26) joined Pant in the middle and after a playing a few shots, fell to the short ball yet again. England laid the trap for Iyer and he fell right into it by pulling a short ball straight to mid-wicket.

Pant completed his fifty with a tickle off the pads, becoming the first Indian wicketkeeper to score a hundred and a half-century in an overseas Test.

After sweeping Jack Leach for a boundary, Pant went for a reverse pull in the following over but was caught at first slip by Joe Root, leaving India at 198 for six.

Towards the end of the session, Potts employed the short ball tactic against Shardul Thakur (4 off 26) who was hit hard on the helmet. Thakur did not last long after that and could not control a pull of Potts to be caught at fine-leg.

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