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India decimate England 3-1: The hosts steamroll spin-weary visitors easily once again

06 Mar 2021
Sridhar Bhamidi 06 Mar 2021
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  • India defeated England by an innings and 25 runs to win the fourth Test within three days in Ahmedabad
  • Rishabh Pant was the 'Man of the match' for his match-changing 101 with the bat and some impressive 'keeping
  • Ravichandran Ashwin was the 'Man of the series' for his all-round performance of 32 wickets and 189 runs
  • With this win, India confirmed their top spot in the ICC World Test rankings and a place in the WTC final against New Zealand
India v England Fourth Test report
India confidently and comprehensively brushed England aside (Getty Images)

India defeated England comprehensively by an innings and 25 runs to win the four-Test series 3-1. With this win, India regained the top spot in the ICC World rankings and qualified for the World Test Championship final.

England collapsed (for the nth time in the series) on the final day of the series to the spin guiles of Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel. The duo took five wickets each and were relentless in their attack. Barring Dan Lawrence’s fifty, none of the English batsmen could withstand the barrage and folded out midway through the final session on day three.

Earlier in the day, it was the impressive Washington Sundar (96*) who continued Rishabh Pant’s heroics (101) from day two. While Pant was the one who took the game away with his aggressive knock, Sundar made sure that India’s control extended with an eventual lead of 160 runs. Ben Stokes’ lion-hearted 4/89 was the best show from England.

The match was probably set up on day one when England won the toss and batted first. England recalled Dom Bess and Daniel Lawrence in the place of Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad. That strengthened their spin reserves and lower-order batting, but put James Anderson as their lone seamer. India went in with one change, replacing Jasprit Bumrah with Mohammed Siraj.

The Indian team selection was once again spot on, as Axar tormented the English with yet another dream spell. His 4/68 was supported by Ashwin’s 3/47. Equally, Siraj took 2/45 with his buzzing pace discomforting the batsmen most of the times. Stokes led the charge for England with 55, while Lawrence chipped in with 46. However, it was their below-par 205 on day one that took the game away from England in the final analysis.

Rishabh Pant was the man of the match for his match-turning innings. He said in the post-match presentation: “The ‘keeping drills have helped, and my confidence has helped, I've transferred it from my batting to my keeping. This was a very important innings, especially with the team under pressure. We were in a tough situation at 146 for 6, and there's nothing better than performing when the team needs you the most. If I get the chance to reverse-flick a fast bowler again, I definitely would."

Ravichandran Ashwin was the ‘Man of the series’ for his all-round display of 32 wickets and 189 runs. He said, “The fact that we qualified for the WTC final is the most pleasing aspect of this victory.  This is one of the best runs in my career. What Rishabh has gone through the last couple of years is amazing. Sometimes he comes and tells me Ash bhai I take these catches often in club cricket and in the IPL. He has been beyond excellent. Axar is someone who came in to replace Jaddu and I thought he delivered for us. I thought his bowling was excellent and very, very accurate for his first series.”

Brief Scores: India 365 (Pant 101, Sundar 96, Stokes 4/89) beat England 205 (Stokes 55, Axar 4/68) and 135 (Lawrence 50, Ashwin 5/47, Patel 5/48) by an innings and 25 runs.