India lost the third Test of the five-match series to England by 266 runs on the fifth morning in Southampton. The Indian line-up disintegrated in the first session of the final day as they lost six wickets for 66 runs. While Ajinkya Rahane fought to keep the team afloat, James Anderson and Moeen Ali ran through the line-up at the other end. Rahane was left stranded on 52 as Anderson claimed two wickets while the off-spinner finished with six to help England level the series 1-1.
Resuming on 112 for four, India were 333 runs short of the target but more pertinently, the visitors needed to dig in their heels and save the game. The Indian line-up though caved in to the England bowling attack without much resistance. On the ninth ball of the day they lost their fifth wicket of the innings. Anderson who has been instrumental in England’s fortune in the third Test this far, claimed Rohit Sharma with a pitched up delivery. The ball brushed past the batsman’s willow and was caught by Joss Buttler behind the wickets.
With India gasping for breath on 120/6, Ravindra Jadeja joined Rahane in the middle in the sixth over of the day. As he has done before in the recent past, Rahane once again looked determined to try and save the Test.
Even as he guarded one end, India lost two more wickets in quick succession. Ali clipped Jadeja’s bails to end the seventh wicket stand for 32. Three balls later he got the better of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to bring England within two wickets of victory.
Alastair Cook then had fielders breathing down Mohammed Shami’s neck for the last ball of the over and the tail-end batsman took the aerial route to keep his wicket intact. However in his next over the spinner knocked back the No 10’s leg stump to claim his maiden five-wicket haul.
Debutant, Pankaj Singh was the last to join Rahane in the middle. Looking to prolong the end, the middle-order batsman farmed the strike as he fought a losing battle. He brought up a valiant half-century with a scrumptious cover-drive. But the Indian innings was cut short in the next over.
Singh struck Ali for two successive boundaries before he found his woodwork disrupted by the spinner to hand England a thumping victory.
While Anderson finished with seven wickets in the game, Ali had picked eight in the match.
Day 1: England 1st inn 247/2 in 90 overs (G Ballance 104*, A Cook 95, I Bell 16*)
Day 2: England 1st inn 569/7 decl. in 163.4 overs (I Bell 167, G Balance 156, J Buttler 85, B Kumar 3/101); India 1st inn 25/1 in 14 overs (M Vijay 11*, C Pujara 4*, J Anderson 1/14)
Day 3: India 1st inn 323/8 in 102 overs (A Rahane 54, MS Dhoni 50*, J Anderson 3/52, S Broad 3/65)
Day 4: India 1st inn 330 all out in 106.1 overs (MS Dhoni 50, J Anderson 5/53); England 2nd inn 205/4 decl. in 40.4 overs (A Cook 70*, J Root 56, R Jadeja 3/52); India 2nd inn 112/4 in 42 overs ( A Rahane 18*, R Sharma 6*, M Ali 2/33)
Day 5: India 2nd inn 178 all out in 66.4 overs (A Rahane 52*, M Ali 6/67, J Anderson 2/24)
Man of the Match: James Anderson for his seven-wicket haul in the third Test