Kevin Pietersen pointed out flaws in Jasprit Bumrah’s fielding setups on day four of the Edgbaston Test, claiming the Indian skipper’s tactics allowed the batsmen to rotate strike far too easily. He opined that India should have been more aggressive and challenged the Englishmen to take risks.
India lost the plot of the final Test match at Edgbaston on day four, despite having begun play in a commanding position. After getting bowled out for a disappointing 245, the Indian bowlers completely conceded the odds to England during the final few hours. Alex Lees, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow all registered flamboyant fifties, with the latter two unbeaten on the crease sharing a partnership of 150 runs.
Former England international Kevin Pietersen feels a large part of England’s batting supremacy was down to inept fielding tactics by Jasprit Bumrah. The stand-in captain failed to take advantage of reverse-swing by spreading the field and allowing the batters to rotate strike.
“There is no way with a reverse swinging ball that he should make it that easy for the batter, because the batter is trying so hard to decipher which way that ball is swinging. When it's reverse swinging at 90mph, the nicest place to bat is at the non-striker's end, and the ability to get to the non-striker's end as easily as they did this afternoon, it's too easy," Pietersen explained to Sky Sports.
"I don't think Bumrah got his tactics right today at all, and I say that with the greatest deal of respect,” he added.
Lees set the stage for the chase early on by scoring at a strike rate of 86.15. Unable to contain him, the Men in Blue chose to place men in the deep and restrict the boundaries. However, this lifted the pressure off the hosts as they ended up scoring at a strike rate of 4.54 on the penultimate day of the Test match.
"They had long off and long on, and that was pure madness. For half an hour that was pure madness. Even for the last 15-20 minutes of the day's play, pull them right in, say 'Jonny, if you're good enough to hit me over the head, please do it,'" Pietersen opined.
At the end of day four, England requires just 119 more runs with seven wickets in hand to seal a victory. Batting on the crease is Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, cruising in their 70s and looking set to reach triple figures. Pietersen believes India needs to change their tactics on the final day to have any chance of victory.