Former England captain Kevin Pietersen was not impressed with India captain Jasprit Bumrah's tactics on Day 4 of the ongoing rescheduled fifth Test against England at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Chasing a record 378 for a series-saving victory, England raced to 259 for 3 at stumps on Monday riding on three fluent half-centuries by Alex Lees, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow. Bumrah, captaining India for the first time in Rohit Sharma's absence due to Covid-19 failed to put a lid on the rapid scoring rate - England scored at 4.54 runs an over.
"I don't think Bumrah got his tactics right today at all, and I say that with the greatest deal of respect," Pietersen told Sky Sports at the end of the fourth day's play. The former attacking batter also pointed out the problems with India's field placements in the last session when the ball was reversing.
"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," he added.
India bowled with an in and out field with protection in the deep for the most part of England's second innings, which did not go down well with Pietersen. "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,'" he said.
India did make a strong comeback with three quick wickets after a century opening stand but Bairstow (72*) and Root (76*) took the game away from the visitors with another counter-attacking century-plus stand for the fourth wicket. England were only 119 runs away from pulling off another record run-chase unless India manage to pull off something incredible in the first hour of Day 5.
"I hope they don't do it tomorrow morning, but for England's sake, absolutely, let them spread them as far as they want," Pietersen said.