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India vs England: Ravichandran Ashwin scores big win in three days

India vs England: Ravichandran Ashwin scores big win in three days

  • Written by Stefan Schimmelt
  • Dharamsala's chief cricket writer

Image source, Getty Images

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England have lost four consecutive Tests in India, the last two after winning the toss

Fifth Test, Dharamsala (third day of five):

England 218 (Crawley 79; Kuldeep 5-72, Ashwin 4-51) & 195 (Root 84; Ashwin 5-77)

India 474: (Gale 110, Rohit 103, Padikkal 65, Jaiswal 57, Sarfaraz 56; Bashir 5-173)

India won by an innings and 64 runs and won the series 4-1

England's tour of India ended in dismal fashion as some poor top-order batting led to a crushing defeat inside three days in the fifth Test in Dharamsala.

Needing 259 to make the bat at home again, England were bowled out for 195 to lose by an innings and 64 runs and give India a 4-1 win.

That margin would have been greater had it not been for Joe Root's 84. England were 113-6 only for Root to coax a run from the tail when the contest was effectively over.

The early morning feat was overshadowed by inept batting by James Anderson, who took Kuldeep Yadav behind him to become the first bowler to reach 700 Test wickets.

With Shoaib Bashir completing his second five-wicket haul of the series, India were bowled out for 477. In blameless circumstances, England's minimum requirement was to drag the match to the fourth day.

Instead, they relegated to off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who celebrated his 100th Test with a score of 5-77.

Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope played horrific batting, Zak Crawley turned at leg slip, Ben Stokes' defense was flimsy and Ben Fox was bowling a bat. In between, Jonny Bairstow connected on 39 off 31 balls before being pinned by Kuldeep.

At least Root showed some grit to fight back, but he was unable to prevent a one-sided defeat during eight sessions of play.

While this is England's first defeat under Stokes, the loss is their seventh in 12 Tests and ends a poor winter across formats that also included a meek defense of the 50-over World Cup.

A very different England team will turn attention to defending the T20 World Cup in June, with the next Test against the West Indies at Lord's in July.

England suffers a devastating defeat

This series promised a lot for England after they registered a thrilling win in the first Test in Hyderabad, but they gradually collapsed into this, their worst ever performance on the tour.

India is a very difficult place for visiting teams. This is their 17th straight win at home, a streak dating back to 2012. At the start of the series, the home team had an even-keeled 4-1 win.

England's disappointment comes from the opportunities they squandered in each of the second, third and fourth Tests. Like last summer's Ashes, England's comeback could have been better.

There is some dilution. Harry Brook missed the entire series and Jack Leach played only one Test. England will be talking about progress, and the emergence of young spinners Bashir and Tom Hartley will be a positive.

But the English batting gradually disintegrated into this final horror show. There are decisions to be made on the futures of Bairstow and Fox, and Bowling will need to step up his pace in the summer.

England are halfway through what is likely to be a four-year period under captain Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum. While their commitment to playing recreational cricket is laudable, now is the time to combine that with consistent results.

Anderson's achievement is overshadowed by the terrible batting

Anderson, 41, is a great in English cricket and British sport. His stride towards 700 wickets has been an arduous one over the past year, but the feat was achieved in a picture-perfect setting, with the sun glinting off the snow-capped Himalayas.

Kuldeep pushed the edge, wicket-keeper Foakes took the ball and Anderson celebrated by waving the ball to the crowd. After Bashir stunned Jasprit Bumrah with Foakes' sharp hands, England had the opportunity to end the innings with a positive batting display.

Instead, it exploded in an ill-advised attempt at aggression. Duckett and Pope's matches were broken up, resulting in Duckett charging Ashwin's fifth ball to be bowled and Pope beating off a hasty sweep. Ben Crowley gave training on holding his leg.

Bairstow, in his 100th Test, hit Ashwin for three sixes only to be undone by Kuldeep's sharp turn. Stokes' batting struggles continued when Ashwin went straight through him, while Foakes was bowled out for an uncharacteristic sweep attempt for Ashwin's fifth over.

He dug deep, with the confidence in defense that his teammates lacked. His disappointing tour – Root had only passed 50 once before – ended with the former England skipper giving a lesson in patience, shot selection and adaptability.

He scored 28 points from his partnership with Hartley and added another 48 points with the determined Bashir. Root was 78 when the last Anderson man joined him, eventually holed up with Kuldeep as he hunted for a century.

India ends up with the dominant showing

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Kuldeep Yadav's five-wicket haul on day one helped put India on the path to victory

If England can point out the players they were missing, India eventually dominated this series without Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami and Rishabh Pant. KL Rahul played only the first Test and missed the rest of the series due to injury.

Batsmen Yashasvi Jasewal, Shubman Gill and Sarfaraz Khan and wicketkeeper-batsman Dhruv Gurel all featured. Even on the final day, captain Rohit Sharma was out with a back injury, leaving Bumrah to take charge.

If the batting had a new feel to it, it was India's experienced and skilled bowlers who eventually gradually set England apart. Earlier in the series, there had been a reverse swing for Bumrah, and here it was Kuldeep's five-wicket haul in the first innings and Ashwin's masterful in the second.

Taking the new ball, Ashwin ran riot in his 36th five-wicket haul in Tests – a record for an Indian bowler. He exploited weaknesses in Duckett and Pope's techniques, and set a trap for Crowley. Ashwin has dismissed Stokes more times than any other player in Tests and bowled the captain at lunch to effectively end any thought of Indian batting again.

Bumrah had Hartley clear for 20, India's 17th wicket of the match but the first not taken by the spinner. Meanwhile, Mark Wood was one leg in front of a toe-crushing Yorker to complete the pair.

India were frustrated by Bashir until Ravindra Jadeja slotted the ball in, and then Root's attempt to rise up the ground ended the match before tea on the third day.

“We've been outdone” – reaction

England captain Ben Stokes: “We are men enough and old enough to accept that we have been outplayed by the better team since the first Test.

“We will take the positives from this series and I am really looking forward to leading this team forward.”

Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin: “A lot has happened over the last week or so, and there's been a lot of hype around my 100th Test, so it's been very confusing.

“But to play a good game personally and get that wicket, that's all I could have asked for.”

India Captain Rohit Sharma: “[Our inexperienced players] We responded very well to pressure throughout the series and there were many times when we fell behind.

“Credit to the whole team for that because all of our players put their hands up at some point to contribute.”

Former Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta: “It was a great series. I don't think the final result does justice to how close it was.”

“Apart from this last Test, England have been in a winning position in every match.”

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