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England well placed for Test win: Joe Root

Press AssociationPress Association 6/08/2016 By David Clough

Joe Root is confident Jonny Bairstow's "brilliant" batting has put England in position to push for victory over Pakistan at Edgbaston.

Both Yorkshiremen hit half-centuries in England's 5-414 on day four of the third Test, leaving the hosts with a lead of 311 and the opportunity to bowl their opponents out and go 2-1 up with one to play.

That was a highly improbable situation after England had played moderately on the first two days.

But they fought back to limit the first-innings deficit to 'only' 103 - and then Root (62), Bairstow (82 not out) and Moeen Ali (60 not out) consolidated half-centuries from openers Alastair Cook (66) and Alex Hales (54).

Root had to do much of the hard work, alongside James Vince (42), but it was Bairstow and Moeen who upped the ante in an unbroken stand of 132 in just 27.3 overs to put England in control.

They hit 16 boundaries between them and impressed Root.

Pakistan's four-man attack had made things tough for the first two sessions, but wilted once England's sixth-wicket pair got set.

"It was outstanding," Root said.

"To go through the gears like that, to score quicker and quicker as that last session went on was brilliant.

"You could see it developing throughout, and it's got us into a really strong position going into the last day."

Bairstow's Test batting has been a revelation since he returned to the team mid-Ashes at this venue a year ago.

England needed Root to excel himself too, in his stand of 95 with Vince after Hales and Cook fell early.

"They strung four maidens on the bounce at one stage, and made it very hard for us to score," he said.

"We knew if we could get through that period, it would get easier.

"With any four-man attack, that's what you look to do - take it deep."

Root was not about to give away the likely timing of Cook's anticipated declaration, but made clear England are beginning to fancy their chances - even on a pitch which has yet to show many signs of deterioration.

"There's a slight bit of inconsistent bounce as the game has gone on," he said.

"We hope that can happen more frequently tomorrow.

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