India crashed to a humiliating 266-run defeat against England in the third Test after an abject batting surrender on Day 5 allowed the hosts level the five-match series 1-1, at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, on Thursday.
Needing to bat out the day, with six wickets in hand, to save the match, the Indians crumbled in the first session itself and were bundled out for a meagre 178 in 66.4 overs.
It was one of India’s biggest Test defeats in terms of runs on English soil, but not their worst, having lost by a mammoth 319 runs in Nottingham on the last tour, in 2011.
The victory ended England’s winless streak of 10 Tests, since the last Ashes series Down Under.
To add insult to the injury, it was part-time off-spinner Moeen Ali who bamboozled the lower-order batsmen and ended up with a career-best haul of 6 for 67 from 20.4 overs.
Pacer James Anderson, who was later named man of the match, provided the first breakthrough of Day 5 when he had Rohit Sharma (6) nibbling at an away-going delivery and caught by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (6) was unable to replicate the resilience he showed in the first innings, again edging an out-swinger to the ‘keeper.
Ajinkya Rahane waged a lone battle at the other end, but could do little as wickets fell at the other end.
Ali then got into the thick of action. He got the ball to turn and shoot up from the rough with his off-breaks. He first cleaned up Ravindra Jadeja (15) with a delivery that pitched on the rough and came in to hit the off-stump.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was out to a bat-pad catch, the delivery spinning in after pitching.
Ali’s maiden 'five-for' was completed when a typical off-break cleaned up Mohammed Shami. He had dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli on the fourth day to raise England’s hopes of victory.
Rahane duly got his second half-century of the match with a brilliant square drive off Chris Woakes with No 11 Pankaj Singh for company.
But it was all over when Pankaj was finally cleaned up by Ali for his sixth scalp when he played inside the line.
The teams will now travel to Manchester for the fourth Test, beginning August 7 at the Old Trafford.
Image: Moeen Ali appeals for the dismissal of India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar on Day 5 of the third Test
Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images