AHMEDABAD: India thumped England by an innings and 25 runs inside three days in the fourth and final Test to complete a 3-1 series victory in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
India’s 13th consecutive Test series victory at home also secured their place in the June final of the World Test Championship against New Zealand at Lord’s.
Having conceded a first-innings lead of 160, England needed a vastly improved batting performance in their bid to level the series.
But their frailties against spin bowling were laid bare again as Joe Root’s men folded for 135 with more than two days to spare in the match.
India’s spin duo of Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin wreaked havoc, taking all 10 wickets between them.
Dan Lawrence was England’s highest scorer in the second innings with 50 runs.
Earlier, Washington Sundar was left stranded on 96 not out as India posted 365 in reply to England’s below-par 205 in the first innings.
“The comeback [after losing the opening Test] pleased me the most,” Virat Kohli said after leading India to their third consecutive victory in the series. “The first game was a bit of an aberration, just a hiccup, when England outplayed us.
“You’re obviously happy when you’re winning so many series but there are always things to improve, like after the first game in Chennai we had to pick up our body language.”
Sundar’s century-plus stand with Rishabh Pant on Friday had turned the game on its head, and the left-hander stitched together another such partnership with all-rounder Patel to bat England out of the contest.
A maiden Test century, however, eluded Sundar who stood crestfallen as India lost their last three wickets in five deliveries at the other end.
When they returned, Ashwin reduced England to 10-2, dismissing Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow with successive deliveries.
Bairstow registered his third duck in four innings, which may render his place in England’s Test squad untenable.
Patel dismissed Ben Stokes, but Ashwin effectively ended England’s resistance when he trapped Joe Root lbw for 30.
“The last three games have been testing for us and we haven’t been able to match India,” Root said at the presentation ceremony. “We’ve got a huge year of test cricket ahead of us and it’s really important we become a better side for this experience and keep looking to evolve and move forward.”
Pant was awarded the man-of-the-match for his belligerent 101, while Ashwin’s series haul of 32 wickets, along with a century in the second Test, earned him the player-of-the-series prize.
It was a memorable debut series for left-arm spinner Patel who registered his fourth five-wicket haul in his third Test and finished with 27 wickets from three matches.
The white-ball leg of the series begins on March 12 with a five-match Twenty20 International series followed by three One-day Internationals.
ENGLAND (1st Innings) 205 (B.A. Stokes 55, D.W. Lawrence 46; A.R. Patel 4-68. R. Ashwin 3-47).
INDIA (1st Innings, overnight 294-7):
Shubman Gill lbw b Anderson 0
R.G. Sharma lbw b Stokes 49
C.A. Pujara lbw b Leach 17
V. Kohli c Foakes b Stokes 0
A.M. Rahane c Stokes b Anderson 27
R.R. Pant c Root b Anderson 101
R. Ashwin c Pope b Leach 13
Washington Sundar not out 96
A.R. Patel run out 43
I. Sharma lbw b Stokes 0
Mohammed Siraj b Stokes 0
EXTRAS (B-10, LB-6, NB-3) 19
TOTAL (all out, 114.4 overs) 365
FALL OF WKTS: 1-0, 2-40, 3-41, 4-80, 5-121, 6-146, 7-259, 8-365, 9-365.
BOWLING: Anderson 25-14-44-3; Stokes 27.4-6-89-4 (1nb); Leach 27-5-89-2 (1nb); Bess 17-1-71-0 (1nb); Root 18-1-56-0.
ENGLAND (2nd Innings):
Z. Crawley c Rahane b Ashwin 5
D.P. Sibley c Pant b Patel 3
J.M. Bairstow c R. Sharma b Ashwin 0
J.E. Root lbw b Ashwin 30
B.A. Stokes c Kohli b Patel 2
O.J.D. Pope st Pant b Patel 15
D.W. Lawrence b Ashwin 50
B.T. Foakes c Rahane b Patel 13
D.M. Bess c Pant b Patel 2
M.J. Leach c Rahane b Ashwin 2
J.M. Anderson not out 1
EXTRAS (B-4, LB-8) 12
TOTAL (all out, 54.5 overs) 135
FALL OF WKTS: 1-10, 2-10, 3-20, 4-30, 5-65, 6-65, 7-109, 8-111, 9-134.
BOWLING: Mohammed Siraj 4-0-12-0; Patel 24-6-48-5; Ashwin 22.5-4-47-5; Washington Sundar 4-0-16-0.
RESULT: India won by an innings and 25 runs to win the four-match series 3-1.
UMPIRES: N.N. Menon (India) and V.K. Sharma (India).
TV UMPIRE: A.K. Chaudhary (India).
MATCH REFEREE: J. Srinath (India).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Rishabh Pant.
MAN-OF-THE-SERIES: Ravichandran Ashwin.
FIRST TEST: Chennai, England won by 227 runs.
SECOND TEST: Chennai, India won by 317 runs.
THIRD TEST: Ahmedabad, India won by 10 wickets.
Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2021