SOUTHAMPTON: Spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali claimed match haul of nine wickets while helping England to a series-clinching 60-run win in the fourth Test against India at Southampton on Sunday.
Victory, achieved with more than a day to spare at the Ageas Bowl, left England an unassailable 3-1 up in the five-match series against India, the world’s number one ranked Test side, ahead of Friday’s finale at The Oval.
India, set 245 to win, were dismissed for 184 with recalled off-spinner Moeen taking four for 71 in 26 overs on a wearing pitch, including the key wicket of star batsman and Indian captain Virat Kohli (58).
That gave Moeen a match return of nine for 134 following his first-innings five for 63.
It was another star turn at Hampshire’s headquarters from Moeen, who took six for 67 when England beat India by 266 runs in the corresponding Test at Southampton four years ago.
While Kohli and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane (51) were sharing a century stand for the fourth wicket, the tourists had hope of chasing down their stiff target.
But after Moeen dismissed both senior batsmen either side of tea, India lost four wickets for 13 runs before Sam Curran, capping another fine all-round display, ended the match by having Ravichandran Ashwin lbw for 25.
After they were dismissed for 271 in their second innings, England made early inroads into India’s top order.
K.L. Rahul was bowled for a duck by a Stuart Broad delivery that kept cruelly low.
James Anderson, surprisingly, wicketless in an India first innings of 273 that featured Cheteshwar Pujara’s excellent 132 not out, then struck twice.
He had Pujara lbw for just five on Sunday and his next over saw Shikhar Dhawan (17) well caught in the gully by Ben Stokes.
That double strike left paceman Anderson on 559 Test wickets and just four behind retired Australia great Glenn McGrath’s mark of 563, the most taken in Tests by any fast bowler.
India were again looking for another major innings from Kohli, who had already scored two hundreds this series and would pass 500 runs for the campaign during Sunday’s innings.
England thought they had the world’s number-one ranked batsman lbw for nine to Moeen. But after England’s review of an original not out decision from Kumar Dharmasena, TV umpire Joel Wilson ruled there had been an inside edge.
At lunch, India were 46 for three with Kohli 10 not out and Rahane unbeaten on 13.
Kohli had moved on to 15 when he survived another huge lbw appeal from Moeen.
Although he looked out, with the ball striking him low down and in front of the stumps, Dharmasena’s decision was upheld on review because the ball had pitched outside off stump with the batsman playing a shot.
Kohli went to fifty with just a third four in 114 balls when he clipped Anderson off his pads through square leg.
It had seemed as if England had missed a huge chance when Alastair Cook dropped Kohli off Moeen at short leg.
But the very next ball saw Kohli get a thin glove and this time Cook made no mistake.
Kohli reviewed, but to no avail, before appearing to exchange angry words with Broad.
The scale of India’s task was evident from the fact they had only three times before scored 200 or more in the fourth innings to win a Test match outside of Asia.
And for all that England had suffered 203-run thrashing by India at Trent Bridge last week, it was still a decade since they had last lost successive home Tests following back-to-back defeats by South Africa in 2008. Three balls after tea, Hardik Pandya was well caught for a duck in the slips by England captain Joe Root off Stokes.
His exit sparked a cascade of wickets, with Rahane’s painstaking 159-ball effort ending when he was lbw to a sharply turning Moeen delivery.
Rishabh Pant drove Moeen for six before he holed out off the spinner at a sun-drenched Southampton.
ENGLAND (1st Innings) 246 (S.M. Curran 78, Moeen Ali 40; J.J. Bumrah 3-46).
INDIA (1st Innings) 273 (C.A. Pujara 132 not out, V. Kohli 46; Moeen Ali 5-63, S.C.J. Broad 3-63).
ENGLAND (2nd Innings, overnight 260-8):
A.N. Cook c Rahul b Bumrah 12
K.K. Jennings lbw b Shami 36
Moeen Ali c Rahul b Sharma 9
J.E. Root run out 48
J.M. Bairstow b Shami 0
B.A. Stokes c Rahane b Ashwin 30
J.C. Buttler lbw b Sharma 69
S.M. Curran run out 46
A.U. Rashid c Pant b Shami 11
S.C.J. Broad c Pant b Shami 0
J.M. Anderson not out 1
EXTRAS (B-7, LB-2) 9
TOTAL (all out, 96.1 overs) 271
FALL OF WKTS: 1-24, 2-33, 3-92, 4-92, 5-122, 6-178, 7-233, 8-260, 9-260.
BOWLING: Ashwin 37.1-7-84-1; Bumrah 19-3-51-1; Sharma 15-4-36-2; Mohammed Shami 16-0-57-4; Pandya 9-0-34-0.
INDIA (2nd Innings):
S. Dhawan c Stokes b Anderson 17
K.L. Rahul b Broad 0
C.A. Pujara lbw b Anderson 5
V. Kohli c Cook b Moeen 58
A.M. Rahane lbw b Moeen 51
H.H. Pandya c Root b Stokes 0
R.R. Pant c Cook b Moeen 18
R. Ashwin lbw b Curran 25
I. Sharma lbw b Stokes 0
Mohammed Shami c Anderson b Moeen 8
J.J. Bumrah not out 0
EXTRAS (LB-1, W-1) 2
TOTAL (all out, 69.4 overs) 184
FALL OF WKTS: 1-4, 2-17, 3-22, 4-123, 5-127, 6-150, 7-153, 8-154, 9-163.
BOWLING: Anderson 11-2-33-2; Broad 10-2-23-1; Moeen Ali 26-3-71-4; Stokes 12-3-34-2 (1w); Curran 3.4-2-1-1; Rashid 7-3-21-0.
RESULT: England won by 60 runs to lead five-match series 3-1.
UMPIRES: H.D.P.K. Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and B.N.J. Oxenford (Australia).
TV UMPIRE: J.S. Wilson (West Indies).
MATCH REFEREE: A.J. Pycroft (Zimbabwe).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Moeen Ali.
FIRST TEST: Edgbaston, England won by 31 runs.
SECOND TEST: Lord’s, England won by an innings and 159 runs.
THIRD TEST: Trent Bridge, India won by 203 runs.
FIFTH TEST: The Oval, Sept 7-11.
Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2018