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India succumbed to England by an innings and 244 runs to lose the five-match Test series by a margin of 3-1. While the tourists started off the series on a positive note, their disintegration since the Lord’s Test was something that could never be fathomed. Devarchit Varma brings the highlights from the last day of the series.
So, India go down 1-3 in the five-match series in England. The hosts staged a turnaround so dramatic that India were blown away without any gumption. The young guns of the Indian cricket, the ones that are looked at with lots of pride and hope, were blown away in merely 29.2 overs in the second innings at The Oval.
England began the day with a huge lead of 237 runs, and looking back at how the day panned out, perhaps an overnight declaration would have been enough. Joe Root slammed a brilliant century, and Stuart Broad’s onslaught damaged India further. When they came out to bat India showed no sense of the responsibility, fight or application that their captain has been asking for since things had started to go wrong and were folded for a shameful total of 94. Let us take a look at the highlights of the day wherein as many as 13 wickets fell in about 41 overs:
Joe Root’s fifth century at home: He may have not yet scored anything significant outside home, but Root made the most by cracking his fifth Test century with all coming in England. What was impressive about his knock was the fact that he not only held together the English innings, but he batted with a man on a mission and kept getting those easy boundaries that India offered. England had enough runs on board, but he continued to bat as if more runs were needed and kept on scoring runs as if the match depended on his innings. Full marks to the young Yorkshireman for having such attitude.
India’s denial to put a fielder at third-man: As stubborn as it can get, India once again did not think it was necessary to put a man at the third-man position. The bowlers continued to give room, and like what happened on the second day, everything that went past the slips went all the way to the boundary. Certainly, the number of runs scored in that area in this five-match affair is estimated to be about 850.
James Anderson keeps getting better and better: One has to watch the video of the over in which Anderson removed Indian opener Murali Vijay. Anderson kept bowling ones that kept moving away from the batsman, and then he rapped him on the pads with one that nipped back in sharply. It was a delight for the English fans to see their best bowler on the top of his performance, especially with the way he bowled in some of the earlier matches in this series.
Gautam Gambhir’s final Test outing?: Geoffrey Boycott had termed him ‘rubbish’ even before Gautam Gambhir had faced his first ball in the match, and Michael Vaughan declared him a ‘walking wicket’ on Twitter even before he could face his first ball in the second innings. The two comments sum up the final outing of man who had once looked like the next wall in the Indian line-up. It is better not to discuss about the manner in which he got out, as he single that he tried to steal and got run out would have been a risky one even in the shorter formats of the game.
Virat Kohli back in form or still struggling?: Virat Kohli finally looked decent in the middle (though nowhere close to his best) amidst the collapse that prompted some to say whether the star Indian batsman is finally finding his feet in the middle or not. However, he put an end to all the speculations as he misread a ball that moved a little away from him after pitching in middle, and was caught in the first slip.
The general lack of fight: Once again, this point makes to the list but it was the same story for India in the second innings as well. One after the another the Indian batsmen kept going for their strokes and getting out, as none among them put his hand up and said he would be ready to drop the anchor. India were not expected to win against England in England, but they were not expected to surrender as meekly as they have in this Test series.
(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)
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