Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
England all-rounder Moeen Ali took a career-best 6-67 to help his side not only pulverise India by 266 runs, but also level the series at 1-1.
While Ali pretty much stole the spotlight, people should definitely spare a thought for India batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who made a defiant 52.
Starting out the day on 112/4, Rahane and Rohit Sharma failed to add a single run to their 23-run partnership since Sharma was caught behind off the bowling of James Anderson for six runs.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni could not save his team as he was also caught behind off the bowling of Anderson for six runs.
Ravindra Jadeja mustered 15 runs before he was clean bowled by Ali.
Ali struck again just four balls later when Bhuvneshwar Kumar was caught by Anderson at gully for a duck.
Mohammed Shami failed to trouble the scorers as he was cleaned up to give Ali his maiden five-wicket haul.
England’s celebrations began when Ali shattered debutant Pankaj Singh’s stumps after a quickfire nine runs.
Ali was easily the pick of the bowlers with his six wickets, while Anderson snapped up two and Joe Root chipped in with one.
Dhoni was disgusted with his side’s performance, and said: “I don’t think we played good cricket. We played the fast bowlers well. Moeen bowled well, but we let him bowl well. He bowled good lines and one ball will turn. There is some wear on the wicket and we should have been more positive. There were quite a few soft dismissals, the phase where Jinx got out and a couple of other wickets that fell. The last session yesterday we lost too many wickets. We could have looked at the Test today a different way without that.
“The reason for using four bowlers is that we never use the fifth. We just used him for 10 and 8 overs. With Shikhar and Vijay and Rohit around, we thought we could do it. But it’s the bowling we need to improve and hit the top of off stump. We will have to think about the four-bowler strategy. We can say the extra batsman didn’t score, but then again the extra bowler didn’t pick up wickets. So we have to discuss a lot and decide on the basis of the pitch.
“Ishant won’t be fit for the next game. Pankaj bowled really well, the tall guy bowled good lengths. On this pitch he bowled the right length. [He] Could have got three wickets but it just didn’t go his way. Shami and Bhuvi bowled well too. When it comes to talent, we are good. In the mental approach, we have to play out shots and back ourselves because cricket is about runs and wickets.”
England skipper Alastair Cook was ecstatic to have levelled the series and regained his form with the bat.
“Happy is the word, not relieved,” he said. “We pretty much won every single session and that’s credit to the guys. It’s a great win, we wanted to get on that wicket first and to get 570 is a great start. We bowled well and batted quickly and knocked them over again. Fantastic crowd, it was a tough Test [scheduling wise], walking out on Sunday after lunch, the ovation was great. It’s been a fantastic week and thank you Southampton.
“I thought my game was heading in the right direction even with 10s and 20s. Frustrating not to get the hundred, but I’d take what I got. Getting back into the ball is vital, I’m pretty good with the short ball. I nick off outside off stump and I had to take care of that. I had to work incredibly hard. The team from one to eleven have been fantastic. Moeen’s bowling has come on leaps and bounds, credit to him. [He is] responding really well and on a spinning wicket to get a six-for, can’t really ask for more. Buttler’s been brilliant with his quick runs and his keeping has been great too. Leader of the attack, Anderson. Got a couple of wickets to set us off and settle the nerves.”
Anderson edged out Ali for the Man of the Match award, and said: “Lovely, it was a good day yesterday. We wanted to finish them off early and get out there and bat again. I don’t think we lost a session in the game. Fantastic performance through the five days. 570 is a huge score for the bowlers. [It could] quite easily be Gary or Bell with the award after having set up the game for us. We bowled brilliantly and got this win. We’ve definitely enjoyed it as well, we’ve obviously performed well. [It was a] different atmosphere in the field, especially with me and Broady to set the tone with the new ball. It swung both innings and that makes my job easier cause that’s what I’m good at and if it keeps swinging hopefully I can continue. Not sure about tomorrow’s hearing. I have to wait and see. We have done brilliantly to put that out of our minds and level the series.”