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PIX: Axar, Ashwin bowl India to big win in 4th Test

Last updated on: March 06, 2021 16:48 IST
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Images from Day 3 of the fourth Test between India and England, at the Narendra Modi stadium, in Motera, Ahmedabad.

Ravichandran Ashwin

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates the wicket of Zak Crawley of England. Photograph: BCCI

India trounced England by an innings and 25 runs on the third day of the fourth Test to complete a 3-1 series victory on Saturday, securing their place in the June's World Test Championships final against New Zealand.

Resuming the day at 294 for seven in reply to England's first innings total of 205, the hosts put on board 365 for a big 160-run lead. Washington Sundar stayed unbeaten on 96 while Axar Patel scored 43.

For England, the script did not change much as their batsmen yet again found it tough to negotiate the challenge posed by the Indian spinners.

Dan Lawrence (50) though showed the required temperament to counter the spinners. Once their 44-run stand was broken, India did not take long to wrap up the match and the series.

Left-arm spinner Patel (5/48) and Ravichandran Ashwin (5/47) shared all the England wickets between them.

Morning session:

Washington Sundar

IMAGE: India’s Washington Sundar negotiates a bouncer on Saturday, Day 3 of the fourth Test against England, at the Narendra Modi stadium, in Motera, Ahmedabad. Photograph: BCCI

Washington Sundar displayed maturity beyond his years before missing out on what would have been a well-deserved maiden Test hundred by four runs, as India's first innings folded for 365 on Saturday, Day 3 of the fourth Test against England, at the Narendra Modi stadium, in Motera, Ahmedabad.

 


A lot of credit for this victory should go to the indomitable Rishabh Pant, who played the enforcer on the second day with a magnificent hundred, and Washington Sundar, who notched up a chiselled 96.

These two knocks literally made it impossible for England to make a comeback as a total of 365 seemed like 650.

The coming of age of Pant as a real replacement for the iconic Mahendra Singh Dhoni and emergence of Washington as a potent batting all-rounder only augurs well for the team.

So formidable is India's bench strength right now that Hanuma Vihari, who saved an epic Test in Sydney only a couple of months back, may not get to play a Test in near future.

World's best wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha will also find it difficult to add to his 38 Tests unless the 'Rourkee Rockstar' gets injured.

Patel, in his debut Test series, was a powerhouse performer but he also knows that once Ravindra Jadeja is fit and available, he will have to wait for his next Test.

The story of the third day was similar to the one that has played out for most of the series.

Axar Patel scores a boundary

IMAGE: Axar Patel leans back on one foot to send the ball to the fence. Photograph: BCCI

At lunch, England were six without loss, aiming to wipe off a massive 160-run first innings lead.

Washington and Axar Patel (43 off 97 balls) added an invaluable 106 runs for the eighth wicket, which has probably thrown England out of the contest.

The pair never looked like blasting the bowlers, but got their runs at a fair clip, adding 71 runs to the overnight total in 20.4 overs.

England struck against the run of play on Saturday morning with the wicket of Axar, who was run out after a fine knock of 43.

Axar Patel and Washington Sundar celebrate a boundary

IMAGE: Axar Patel and Washington Sundar celebrate a boundary. Photograph: BCCI

He helped swell India’s lead in the company of Sundar as the duo put on 106 runs from 178 balls for the eighth wicket.

Sundar hit the last delivery of Joe Root’s over straight to mid-on and Axar came rushing for the quick run but was sent back. However, he failed to get back in time and Root took off the bails after receiving Jonny Bairstow's quick, flat throw from mid-on.

India were reduced to 365 for 8, an overall lead of 160 runs.

Ishant Sharma was then dismissed first ball, trapped leg before wicket by Stokes. He tried to flick the incoming delivery but missed it and was trapped right in front. He walked off without asking for the review.

Washington Sundar scores a boundary

IMAGE: Washington Sundar sends the ball over the bowler’s head for a boundary. Photograph: BCCI

Three balls later, Stokes finished off India's innings with the wicket of Mohammed Siraj, who made room but missed the straight delivery and was bowled for a duck.

Sundar was left stranded after a wonderful innings of 96 from 174 balls, as India were bowled out for 365 in 114.4 overs, a huge lead of 160 runs.

It was a mini-collapse for India as they lost their last three wickets in the space of five deliveries.

Stokes finished as England's top wicket-taker with 4 for 89, while Anderson bagged 3 for 44 and Leach 2 for 89.

Post-Lunch session:

With shoulders already drooping after the humiliation inflicted by Pant and Washington, England's openers Zak Crawley (5, 16 balls), Dom Sibley (3, 21 balls) and Jonny Bairstow (0, 1 ball) seemed like 'walking wickets' at the start of the post-lunch session.

Jonny Bairstow

IMAGE: Rohit Sharma takes a catch to dismiss Jonny Bairstow for a duck. Photograph: BCCI

Crawley, who in this Test match has made an ordinary strip look extraordinarily difficult with his approach, was snuffed out by Ashwin with two deliveries.

The first was a sharp off-break that made him look vulnerable and then came the straighter ball which he managed to jab to Ajinkya Rahane at slips.

Bairstow didn't trouble the scorers as he closed his bat face to give Rohit Sharma an easy catch at leg slip.

Ben Stokes

IMAGE: Axar Patel celebrates the wicket of Ben Stokes with team mates. Photograph: BCCI

Suddenly the track that looked docile in the first session seemed like performing all kinds of tricks.

Sibley must have been affected by the two dismissals and his was a freak one as he played a full-blooded sweep shot off Patel which ricocheted off forward short leg fielder Shubman Gill's knee and lobbed up for Pant to complete the formalities.

Ollie Pope

IMAGE: Ollie Pope departs following some brilliant glovework from Rishabh Pant. Photograph: BCCI

One had expected two of England's best players in Joe Root (30) and Ben Stokes (2 off 9 balls) to put up a fight but the all-rounder failed to gauge the extra bounce as he went for a sweep shot off Patel.
Kohli accepted the dolly at leg slip as England's resistance was blown away at 30 for 4.

Ollie Pope (15) hit Ashwin for a six, which was more desperation than finesse, and it was only a matter of time before he yorked himself as Pant fumbled while gathering but managed to effect a stumping to make it 65 for 5.

The England skipper could only helplessly look how his colleagues made a mess of Test match batting and Ashwin finally had his number trapping him leg before on the back-foot with another straight ball.

Post-Tea session:

England were bowled out for 135 in their second innings. The Indian spinners once again dominated as Ashwin (5/47) and Axar (5/48) took five wickets each to rout the visitors for another below-par total.

Axar Patel

IMAGE: Axar Patel celebrates Ben Foakes' wicket. Photograph: BCCI

Axar got the wicket of Foakes, who edged and Rahane took a good catch diving to his left at slip.

That was a terrific catch from Rahane as he got his fingers underneath the ball just inches from the ground. The on-field umpire referred it upstairs with the soft signal of not out but it was a clean catch by Rahane.

Foakes walked back for 13 as England lost their seventh wicket.

Axar Patel

IMAGE: Axar Patel celebrates his five-wicket haul. Photograph: BCCI

Axar completed his five-wicket haul as Bess tried the sweep but got the under edge and was caught by wicketkeeper Pant for two. England were 111-8.

Ashwin ended Leach's painful stay in the middle. The left-hander got the edge and Rahane completed another sharp catch in the slips, managing to get low and grab it in front inches from the ground.

The umpires wanted to have a look with the soft signal of out and the TV umpires ruled that Rahane's fingers are underneath the ball.

Leach was dismissed for two as England lost their ninth wicket, still needed 26 to avoid the innings defeat.

Ashwin finished off the match with the wicket of Lawrence, who was bowled for 50.

Virat Kohli

IMAGE: Virat Kohli celebrates. Photograph: BCCI

It was another two and half days finish but even the most partisan England experts like their former skipper Michael Vaughan have admitted that the 22-yard strip had almost nothing to do with their side's abject surrender.

A case in point could be India's first innings score of 365 and a lead of 160 on the same track where England could cumulatively manage only 340 runs across two innings.

"The comeback in Chennai pleased me the most. The first game was an aberration and England outplayed us," said India skipper Virat Kohli at the post-match presentation.

"Every team in international cricket is a quality side and we need to work hard to beat them, even at home. Keeping that intensity going is most important and is the hallmark of our team."

Atrocious application and unbelievably poor mindset while playing spinners cost the Englishmen dearly during the last three Tests and skipper Joe Root had little to offer in terms of explanation.

"We haven't matched India in the last three, and we need to keep learning and keep getting better for this experience and this series, and we need to keep evolving and move forward," admitted Root.

This was one Test match where Indians, even before a ball being bowled, created an illusion of a turning track. It was a ploy of playing with the minds of a team that was already in a negative zone.

There wasn't much turn but enough to ensure that the visitors wilted under pressure as Patel's series tally stood at highest for a newcomer (27) while man of the series Ashwin was peerless as ever with 32 scalps in his kitty.

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