Match report: Eng v Ind, 4th Test – Day 5
London, Aug 22: England recorded a 4-0 series sweep with an innings and eight-run victory in the Kennington Oval Test here in London. The hosts were able to complete the whitewash despite a valiant fourth-wicket partnership between Sachin Tendulkar and Amit Mishra.
The last day of the four-match Test series began with the prospect of Tendulkar’s 100th international century looming large. That landmark appeared to be well within Tendulkar’s grasp for the first half of the day’s play as both Tendulkar and Mishra defied the England bowlers with a mix of caution and aggression.
Mishra was perhaps even the more impressive of the two, regularly clipping the English pacers on the leg side whenever the ball was pitched on his pads. The bowler even posted the second half-century of his Test career before notching up a career-best score of 84.
Tendulkar, in contrast to Mishra, was less fluent in his innings. Having reached his 61st half-century in Tests, he was dropped on two occasions by the England fielders. The first time round, he was dropped on 70 at short leg by Alastair Cook and the second was when Matt Prior missed a difficult opportunity to hold on to an edge from his bat that kept low. Graeme Swann was the unlucky bowler in both instances.
Having kept the England bowlers at bay for a little less than a session-and-a-half over a 144-run stand (India’s best for the series), Amit Mishra was then trapped leg before by Graeme Swann with the Indian score at 262. Tendulkar (91) fell four deliveries later in a similar fashion to Tim Bresnan, nine runs shy of what would have been a landmark century.
Those two wickets started the downfall as India lost their last five wickets for the addition of just another 21 runs. Suresh Raina (0) was unlucky to be adjudged lbw even though replays suggested that the ball had hit his bat before brushing the pad. MS Dhoni (3) followed Raina, edging a Stuart Broad delivery to Swann at second slip. RP Singh wasn’t able to repeat his first innings heroics and went without opening his account. Gautam Gambhir, batting at No. 8 because of a concussion suffered earlier, offered an easy catch to Eoin Morgan at point while attempting to hit Swann through the covers. S Sreesanth (6) was the last wicket to fall when Swann bowled the Indian No. 11 with the Indian score at 283.
Swann was England’s bowling hero in the fourth innings, the off-spinner finishing with figures of six for 106.
As a result of this loss, India slide to number three in the ICC Test rankings while England consolidate their position at the top of the table.
Brief scores at end of Day 4: England 1st innings 591/6 decl.in 153.0 overs(Ian Bell 235, Kevin Pietersen 175, S Sreesanth 3/123); beat India 1st innings 300 all out in 94.0 overs (Rahul Dravid 146*, Tim Bresnan 3/54) and India 2nd innings 283 all out in 91.0 overs (Sachin Tendulkar 91, Amit Mishra 84, Graeme Swann 6/106) by an innings and eight runs
Man-of-the-match: Ian Bell for his swashbuckling knock of 235 that set up England’s match-winning first innings score of 591
For England: Stuart Broadfor his all-round effort. Broad scored 182 runs at an average of 60.66 and took 25 wickets at a miserly average of 13.84.
For India: Rahul Dravid for his 461 runs in the series which included three Test centuries.
Day 1 - A bout of rain during the lunch break, followed by intermittent showers through the day, brought about a premature end to the first day’s play of the fourth and final Test match between England and India at the Kennington Oval. Heading into the lunch break, the England openers had managed to take their side to a breezy 75 for the loss of no wicket.
Day 2 - Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen put England in a commanding position on the second day of the fourth Test against India sharing a 350-run stand for the third wicket. England ended the day on a first innings score of 457 for the loss of three wickets. The weather held remarkably well through the day, providing excellent conditions for cricket after a rain-marred first day.
Day 3 - England’s No. 3 batsman Ian Bell completed a classy double-century as the hosts piled on 591 for the loss six wickets before declaring their first innings on Day 3 of the fourth Test match at the Oval.
Asked to bat, the Indian top-order, with the exception of Rahul Dravid, once again put up a dismal performance. With Dravid and MS Dhoni at the crease, the visitors trailed by 488 runs with five wickets in hand at stumps on the rain-marred third day. Graeme Swann did the bulk of the damage, grabbing three wickets in the final session.
Day 4 - Rahul Dravid played yet another gallant knock in India’s first innings but England nonetheless moved closer to a series whitewash against their struggling opponents on Day 4 of the final Test between the sides. The hosts bowled India out for 300 in their first innings despite a magnificent 146 from Dravid and then reduced them to 129 for three in their second innings at the end of the day. The hosts ended the day just seven wickets away from a memorable 4-0 win against the displaced world No. 1 side.