England vs India: All-round India thump England to keep series alive
In 17 balls and just over 10 minutes, India had clinched one of its most remarkable victories In England, to not just keep the series alive but also stay in the hunt for it.
Ravichandran Ashwin, bowling with a suspected hip-pain, had James Anderson caught off a sucker to slips and that was it. India won the match by massive 203 runs, to cut England’s lead 2-1 and with a chance to rewrite history when Southampton comes calling next week.
The match was spectacular, formidable in many ways but not a lone-war battle as India four days within the ignominy at Lord’s, showed what collective efforts could bear. And with a fine balance between the bat and ball, they mopped England out to record their seventh Test victory in England, but perhaps the most dominating.
India dominated everywhere and in everything, while England was never in the game – not even in the second day when sent to bat they bundled for 161 and inside a single session, giving Hardik Pandya his maiden five-wicket haul. Pandya swung most of them out and of the 5-fer that he took, three were England’s best batsmen of the series (Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, and Chris Woakes).
England’s plight was swelled further by Jasprit Bumrah, who clutched the second new ball with full hands to take four wickets in the final innings and leave England facing a heavy loss at Trent Bridge. It was Bumrah’s second five-wicket haul in four Tests and he finished the match with seven, to mark a ravenous return from injury.
The victory was, however, most satisfying for Virat Kohli. The Indian skipper has seen as many as five of his 12 overseas Test centuries end in defeats, but he ensured that his 13th and 23rd Ton overall doesn’t face the same fate, with two brilliant innings (97 and 103) to punt England out of the match. It will certainly not be among the classiest of his Test centuries, nor the typical Kohli century – where post 50 he gets into One-Day mode – but was composed and measured to perfection. Here Kohli did not play the master but was an able partner and just like he had helped an under-confident and out-of-form Ajinkya Rahane find his groove in the first inning, Cheteshwar Pujara reaped the benefits in the second.
And alongside him, the entire Indian batting revelled. From the openers Shikhar Dhawan (44 & 36) And KL Rahul (36 & 23) becoming the first Indian opening pair since Gavaskar-Srikkanth in 1986 to make 50 or more run partnership in both the innings of a Test match in England, to Rahane’s 81 and Pujara’s fighting 72 all of which ensured India had enough runs on board to make rattle England. Pandya and Rishabh Pant then chipped in with power-packed 52 and 24 to ensure India crossed 300 runs in both the innings.
England needed a saviour to survive and temporarily found one in Jos Buttler – who registered his first Test century – and Ben Stokes (62). But that was until Bumrah intervened and destruct any remaining England hopes with three wickets in six balls. He removed Buttler, sent injured Jonny Bairstow back for a golden duck and bounced Chris Woakes out to all but seal an India victory in the fourth day.
But Adil Rashid (33) in the company of Stuart Broad (20) and James Anderson (11) held fortress delaying the inevitable for another night.
The victory took Virat Kohli to 22 wins in 38 Test matches as captain overtaking Sourav Ganguly’s 21 and just five behind MS Dhoni’s 27 Test victories.