Ageas Bowl, Southampton: England won the fourth test against India by 60 runs at Southampton on Sunday. England took an unassailable lead of 3-1 to win the Pataudi Trophy in their backyard.
England’s bowling pair Anderson and Broad were in sublime form right at the start of the Indian chase. Broad bowled over opener KL Rahul with a low-lying delivery that baffled the Indian. Anderson got Pujara lbw and Shikhar Dhawan was caught at gully by Stokes. Three Indian wickets fell within 10 overs of play. Moeen Ali took charge from the 13th over and used the loose patch outside the off-stump of the right-handers that he consistently kept hitting. The off-spinner troubled the Indian captain early on in his innings of 58. On 9 runs, an England review for lbw was unsuccessful after third umpire Joel Wilson decided that the ball feathered Kohli’s bat. The review was fairly debated considered the umpire did not check for whether the noise was off the bat flicking the pad.
Both the captain and the vice-captain played mature cricket, playing skillful defense against Moeen and accumulating runs in singles and twos. Just before tea, Kohli was caught at short-leg by Alastair Cook. The ball hit his gloves and ballooned in the air to Cook. India steadily piled runs in the afternoon session with Kohli’s lone wicket for England. England dominated the session after tea quickly reducing the Indian side from 123 for 4 to 184 all out.
When Kohli was dismissed, India needed 121 runs with six wickets in hand to level the series. What followed was another dismissal batting collapse that had become habitual practice since the South Africa series at the start of the year. The middle and lower orders have to perform in high-pressure situations. The dependency on the top order to fulfill the batting needs has hurt India in the ongoing series. Especially in closely fought matches, like this test and the first test at Lords, India narrowly missed out on chasing down the target.
Kohli expressed during the post-match that the team needs to do more than reach close to the target. “When you come so close, there is an art of crossing the line as well, which we will have to learn. We have the ability, which is why we are getting close to a result, and we have belief in that ability. But when a pressure situation comes, how we react to it… is something we have to work on a bit, and everyone is ready to work on that,” he insisted.
Moeen Ali was adjudged the man of the match for his nine wickets – four in the second innings to add to his five-wicket haul in the first innings. Root heaped praise on the finger spinner declaring that this was “the best I’ve seen him bowl in an England shirt”. In the series, England has had standout bowlers in each of the matches who have won them the game. Though England will still question their top orders failure, they will be content with the series win for now.
In the post-match presentation, England captain called this win one of his best as captain. “I think it probably has been [my best as captain]. I feel like I’ve had quite a big input, felt very much in control of things – and I’ve got a real clear vision of how I see us improving long-term as a group. It’s a really exciting time for me and for this team,” he said.
Scorecard: England 246 (S Curran 78, M Ali 40; Bumrah 3-46, I Sharma 2-26) & 271 (J Buttler 69, J Root 48, S Curran 46; M Shami 4-57); India 273 (C Pujara 132*, V Kohli 46; M Ali 5-63, S Broad 3-63) & 184 (V Kohli 58, A Rahane 51; M Ali 4-71)