Report: England vs India, 5th Test - Day 3
Rampant England seal series 3-1 as Indian batting collapse
England beat India inside three days in the fifth Test to complete a 3-1 series victory. The visitors were skittled out for 94 in only 29.2 overs as England won by an innings and 244 runs at The Oval.
Their third successive victory scripted an extraordinary turnaround since the hosts were beaten by 95 runs in the second Test at Lord's to go 1-0 behind in the series.
After James Anderson and Stuart Broad broke through with the new ball, Chris Jordan took four of the last five wickets to put the final nail in the coffin. England had earlier smashed 101 runs in 11.3 overs to post 486 in reply to India's first-innings 148, with Joe Root making an unbeaten 149.
England had registered a lead of 338. They then claimed the scalps of M Vijay and Gautam Gambhir, to a run out, to send India in to lunch at 9 for 2, after rain forced an early break.
After a delay of an hour-and-a-half, the match resumed. Anderson had Chesteshwar Pujara caught behind while Ajinkya Rahane was brilliantly caught by Gary Ballance at slip off Stuart Broad.
Indian skipper MS Dhoni, who has been often India's saviour in this series, was caught by Sam Robson at short leg off Woakes to leave India in disarray at 46 for five.
Virat Kohli's miserable series continued when, on 20, he edged Jordan to Alastair Cook at first slip and Ravichandran Ashwin was caught by Ian Bell at second slip off Jordan after Ballance had pushed the ball up.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar edged Jordan straight to Bell and Varun Aaron failed to beat Moeen Ali's throw from the boundary and was run out trying to make a needless second run.
Jordan had the final say to complete figures of four for 18 when a vicious short ball forced Ishant Sharma to loop a simple catch to Moeen.
Man of the Match: Joe Root was his unbeaten 149.
Man of the Series: James Anderson and Bhuvneshwar Kumar for their performances both with the bat and ball.
Worked on my bowling from sidelines: Ashwin
Indian off-spinner shares how he used his time out of the team to improve his game
The ongoing Oval Test is R Ashwin’s first Test as India’s lone spinner after the 2013 Wanderers game against South Africa. In between he sat six Tests out and played alongside Ravindra Jadeja in Manchester.
In the second session of Day 2 at the Oval, Ashwin bowled a tight and skillful 15-over spell during which he dismissed Gary Ballance and Moeen Ali. After the day, Ashwin spoke about how he worked on his game in the time he spent on the sidelines.
“I’ve worked on my action a little,” the off-spinner said. “I’ve tried to get more side on and be as balanced as possible. When I am sitting out, I try to use that time to be the best cricketer I possibly can. Today I got a good spell and I love bowling long spells.”
He had a short spell before lunch, which Ashwin said didn’t quite feel right to him. He revealed how he changed his focus in his post-lunch spell.
“It felt a bit strange. In the first six seven overs I was hitting the crease softly and not getting a lot of carry,” Ashwin analysed. “I went back during the lunch break, saw the videos, took feedback as to what I was doing. I realized that I was probably thinking too much, watching the crease and not really focusing on where I want to bowl. Those small errors, when I go back and see it surprises me that it really happened to me. But it did.”
On a day when the sun was out and the wicket had eased out, the Indian bowlers did well to pick seven England wickets. Ashwin appreciated his fellow bowlers’ efforts on a long day in the field.
“Today was a very good batting day. The sun was out and the pitch had eased out. The seam movement faded out as the day went on. It was a hard day for the bowlers but I thought we toiled very well and managed to get a bit out of the surface. It would have been nicer had we picked a couple of more wickets but we gave it our all,” Ashwin said.
He had special words of praise for Varun Aaron, who bowled brilliantly on a wicket that didn’t have anything for the pacers. It was Aaron who got rid of the two openers, Sam Robson and Alastair Cook.
“That’s one thing you can always expect from him – he will come charging in and bowl quick,” Ashwin said of Aaron. “He bowled his heart out and clocked close to 90 mph all through the day, which is a commendable effort.”
The area where India continued to fall short was slip catching, as M Vijay put one down at first slip before making up for it by catching Cook. Ashwin said the team’s slip cordon is still work in progress.
“Slip cordon is a very important part of the Test team and we are preparing as many players as we can to field there. I think the fast bowlers should also practice and prepare themselves if needed. As a young team we are working on that aspect.”
As the team lags behind in the fifth Test after losing the last two, Ashwin said they are trying everything they can to ensure the team remains positive and confident.
“Everybody has bad days and we do too. Yes, it has happened to us for over a period now but what we go and try to do everyday is enjoy ourselves because we are playing the game we love. That is one way of keeping the demoralization away.
“We are trying to feed off each other’s confidence as well as trying to reaffirm to each other that we can fight it out.”