Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
England produced yet another dominating bowling display as they obliterated India by an innings and 244 runs on the third day of the fifth Test at The Oval.
Joe Root starred with the bat as he scored an unbeaten 149, while Chris Jordan was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets as England won the Test series 3-1.
Starting out the day on 385/7, Root and pace bowler Jordan converted their 67-run partnership into an 82-run partnership, during which Root brought up his fifth Test century, before Jordan was caught behind off the bowling of Ishant Sharma for 20.
Root and Stuart Broad kept the runs flowing with a quickfire 63-run partnership before Broad was caught by Virat Kohli in the slip cordon off the bowling of Sharma.
However, Broad should not have been given out since his glove was off the bat when the ball hit it.
James Anderson only made one run before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin.
However, just like Broad, Anderson was not out since replays showed that the ball was missing leg stump by quite a distance.
Root was left stranded on 149 off 165 balls, which included 18 boundaries and a six, as England were bowled out for 486, which gave them a 338-run lead.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Sharma was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Ashwin snapped up three, Varun Aaron took two and Bhuvneshwar Kumar chipped in with one.
Trailing by 338 runs, India got off to a terrible start as Murali Vijay was given out lbw off the bowling of Anderson for two runs.
Gautam Gambhir only made three runs before he was run out by Chris Woakes.
Cheteshwar Pujara mustered 11 runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Anderson.
Ajinkya Rahane failed to have an impact with the bat as he was the victim of a spectacular catch by Gary Ballance at third slip off the bowling of Broad for four runs.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed to save his team as he was caught by Sam Robson at short leg off the bowling of Woakes for a duck.
Virat Kohli managed to make 20 runs before he was caught by England skipper Alastair Cook at first slip off the bowling of Jordan.
Ashwin scored seven runs before Ian Bell took a fantastic rebound catch when Ballance dropped it initially at third slip.
Jordan struck again just four balls later when Kumar was caught by Bell at second slip for four runs.
Aaron only made one run before he was run out by Moeen Ali.
India were put out of their misery on 94 when Sharma was caught by Ali at silly point off the bowling of Jordan for two runs.
Stuart Binny was left stranded on 25 off 28 balls, which included four boundaries.
Jordan was the most successful bowler with four wickets, while Anderson nabbed two and Broad and Woakes claimed one wicket each.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Dhoni was gutted to have lost the series 3-1, and said: “We’ve lost a lot of confidence over the five-Test series, it is disappointing, there will be many experiences which the youngsters will learn – not too many have played Tests away from home and hopefully they can take that it into the future.
“Right from the start, our batsmen never really performed, the lower order helped out…that blurred the performance of the top order. Just scoring 150-160 runs will not put pressure on the home team. It’s demanding but the wickets were good, nice pace and bounce – in the overcast conditions the fast bowlers get swing and the English bowlers were very consistent. The batting unit felt the pressure of not scoring, that’s what you have to do in Test cricket, absorb pressure. If we went it with Rohit, the difficulty was who to leave out, whatever we could have done, we tried – a bit more application from the batsmen and it would have been better.
“The first couple of Test matches were good for us, so there is no point in playing practice games later in the series. A five-Test series was very demanding, you could see it with Bhuvneshwar, the effects on him but we couldn’t replace him. It’s important to know where your off stump is, our playing XI didn’t have many Tests, so we are lacking experience but until they play international cricket, they won’t get that.
“It’s important to play here, learn lessons and come back strong. The one-day format, we have some new players coming in and it’s not as demanding. It’s important we leave the Test behind and enjoy the ODIs and T20.”
Cook was over the moon with his side’s performance, and said: “It was an amazing performance, to win like we’ve won after what happened at Lord’s, the players and the staff can take an enormous amount of credit. All summer, before we won at Southampton, we played good cricket in patches and then let it go after an hour or so. To maintain pressure like we did in the last few games was impressive.
“It’s good to have the support of the guys throughout the tough times and then enjoy the good times. I think at Southampton, the first day, to win the toss – we made a good decision to bat, Gary going on to get a hundred and then Belly following it up. When you score runs, with our bowling attack in these conditions, it’s hard for the opposition.
“It’s a shame [no Tests until April], they’ll be very different conditions in West Indies. We have a lot of Test cricket after that. We have to enjoy tonight, look at how we have got things to click and then take it on. In sport, you have tough times, it’s the character you need to show to bounce back. The support has been fantastic, from the families as well, [and it] means we can go out and play some good cricket.”
Root was named Man of the Match, and said: “It’s always nice to score runs and you want to score as many as you can, but to finish like we did today was really pleasing. We’ve had to show a lot of character since Lord’s and dig deep. I’ve enjoyed batting at five [since Australia], it’s nice to score runs and win again. I think I got into a place where I was just looking to survive but I’m trying to put pressure on the bowlers again. It’s still very exciting, just the start of being a really strong side, hopefully we can build on this, even though it’s a long time until we play Test cricket again.”
Kumar was named India’s Man of the Series for taking 19 wickets at an average of 26.63 and scoring 247 runs at an average of 27.44.
“It’s tough but we have to look forward to the next series,” he said. “We were hoping to win the series but in a five-match series it is hard to maintain your performances. The body is a bit tired but it was a good experience, playing in England, it was a great experience and I hope I do well in future. Bowlers want to bowl well here, trying to focus on line and length and I’m pleased I had success.”
Anderson was named England’s Man of the Series for dismissing 25 Indian batsmen at a superb average of 20.60.
“We’ve fought back really well, there’s been some good performances through the series,” he said. “I think I’m in a good place with the ball, I think the way all four seamers have bowled in the last few Test has been hugely impressive. We wanted the nicks to carry after the first couple of games. When you feel like you have an edge over a batsman, it does help as a bowler. It’s hard work over a long series, so credit to the guys. The batsmen have done a great job for us since Southampton, scoreboard pressure is a great thing. I was worried about the how the body would cope with these five Tests, it’s gone all right, so I’ll get in shape for next year and see how it goes.”