England trounced India once again inside three days in the final Test at The Oval and won the series 3-1. With this India has earned a dubious distinction by losing five consecutive overseas Test series — to England in 2011, to Australia in 2011-12, to South Africa in 2013-14, to New Zealand in 2013-14 and to England in 2014. Moreover India has also erned another dubious distinction by losing two consecutive Tests within three days by an innings margins.
When every one were expecting India to bounce back in the final test and restore some parity were left dispirited and shocked in the end as India lost all her 10 second innings wickets for just 94 runs and lost the match by an innings and 244 runs – their third biggest defeat in the history – the largest being by an innings and 336 runs to the West Indies at Eden Gardens in 1958-59 and by an innings and 285 runs to England at Lord’s in 1974.
India took the field half-heartedly as its performance in the test divulge. India batted a total of 90.2 overs in the match, which equates to just one full day’s batting — in two innings. The match lasted just 207 overs, much less than the half-way mark of 245 overs for five days. India were that poor.
The Indian demise was along the expected lines — five men were caught in the slips or by the wicketkeeper, and two were run out in the second innings. The conditions were a bit difficult to bat on, yet again, and the bowlers were excellent. James Anderson swung it both ways at good pace, and the batsmen didn’t know whether the ball was going to miss the outside edge or the inside edge of their bats.
The Indians began the second innings 338 runs in the arrears — that was the lead Joe Root provided to the home with his stunning century.
Murali Vijay failed to connect with one that jagged back sharply and was trapped LBW, India 6/1. Gautam Gambhir, who is certainly not ready for this kind of cricket, tough and testing cricket, was run out. Shane Warne on air suggested that Gambhir was merely trying to get away from the strike – and maybe it was true. He’s got four knocks on this tour, and four failures have resulted – today he threw it away by turning the ball into the legside and charging for a run. Chris Woakes had to only steam in, gather the ball and hit the wickets. Woakes hit, India 9/2, effectively -229/2.
Cheteshwar Pujara got one that was too good for him — his back-foot was stuck into the crease, and his mind was in a roil, and Anderson bowled one that angled in before straightening ever so slightly. A slight edge and India were 30/3.
Virat Kohli, nervous and shaky, survived 54 balls just by fluke — he was beaten umpteen times by Anderson and Stuart Broad, and when he did strike the ball well, which happened no more than four times, he hit it straight to the fielder. Anderson and Broad softened him, Chris Jordan got him.
Kohli tried to put a straighter delivery through midwicket, but only edged it to Alastair Cook in the slips.
Ajinkya Rahane was caught brilliantly by Gary Ballance, diving to his left and sticking his left hand out. Mahendra Singh Dhoni inside-edged a short one from Woakes on to his thigh pad, and Robson at short leg caught it. India 46/5.
Over the four previous innings, India have at times threatened to be bowled out for less than 100, and Dhoni and the tail have rescued them — four times in a row they’d got less than 200. But with the captain gone, even a 100 was out of the question today.
Ashwin was caught in the slips by Ian Bell, as was Bhuvneshwar; Varun Aaron ran himself out going for the second when none existed, and India were down to 84/9.
The horror ended when Ishant Sharma hit a short one right up into the air, for Moeen Khan to complete the simplest catch of the series. Eight wickets for 64 in 17 overs.
India: 148 (Dhoni 82; Woakes 3/30, Jordan 3/32) & 94 (Binny 25*; Jordan 4/18, Anderson 2/16)
England: 486 (Root 149*, Cook 79, Ballance 64, Buttler 45; Ishant Sharma 4/96, Ashwin 3/72)