England Blow India Away by an Innings and 242 Runs

Aug 14, 2011

cook-alastair Sachin Tendulkar was run out after backing up a bit too far and Rahul Dravid was out caught behind, but strangely neither Hot Spot nor snicko confirmed the edge. That’s the way cookie crumbles. SCORECARD

A relentless England ended India’s 19-month reign at the top of the Test rankings with a resounding innings and 242-run win on the fourth day of the third Test here at Edgbaston on Saturday. The win helped England build an unassailable 3-0 lead in the four-Test series.

England won’t be officially number one till the end of the series, but that is just a formality, the top position the perfect icing on the cake. The two sides meet again in the final Test at The Oval from Thursday.

Needing a whopping 486 to make England bat again, India had a mountain to climb when they resumed at 35 for one. But their batting showed they couldn’t even have scaled down a molehill as their modest reply -- 244 all out – exemplified. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (74 n.o., 79b, 13x4) helped himself to a second half-century of the match while Praveen Kumar (40, 18b, 5x4, 3x6) threw his bat around for an entertaining knock.

The two innings helped India avoid their biggest innings defeat (innings and 336-run loss to the West Indies in Kolkata in 1958) which at one stage looked very much on the cards.

In a wonderful exhibition of swing bowling on the fourth morning, James Anderson (4/85) cut a swathe through the Indian batting line-up to bring England within striking distance of victory. Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad then played their hands with two dismissals each as the home team registered its second biggest innings win over India. The innings and 285-run drubbing in 1974 at Lord’s is India’s heaviest defeat at the hands of England.

Anderson was simply unplayable on the day. After watching silently his fellow pacemen Broad and Tim Bresnan feast on the Indian batsmen in the last three innings, the right-arm quick returned to wicket-taking ways in fine style. In a devastating six-over spell (6-2-17-3) in overcast conditions, the 28-year-old scythed through the cream of the Indian top-order to inflict irreparable damage. Having removed Virender Sehwag the previous night with the second delivery of the innings, Anderson began in better fashion, scalping Gautam Gambhir with his first ball of the day. If this was the kind of start England were looking for, then India were dreading exactly the same.

As the ball moved away after pitching on middle and off, the left-hander poked at it tamely and Swann did the rest at second slip. Dravid had appeared fluent the previous night and a lot obviously depended on him. The right-hander got an absolute sucker, the ball shaping away from his bat at the last moment taking an edge on the way to wicket-keeper Matt Prior. The replays, however, showed no evidence of the nick but Dravid didn’t review the verdict.

VVS Laxman flailed his bat to an outswinger and Prior gleefully accepted the offer. In a matter of 27 balls, India had been reduced to 56 for four from 35 for one. Suresh Raina aptly illustrated the Indian batsmen’s confused state of mind when he asked for a review of his lbw decision off Swann even though there is no option of challenging leg-before verdicts in this series.

Tendulkar seemed to be having no problems whatsoever with the movement of the ball. He looked the most confident of the Indian batsmen but like in Trent Bridge, where India suffered a 319-run defeat, he was fighting a losing battle. The right-hander had sailed to a smooth 40 when Dhoni drove Swann straight back to the bowler, who extended his right hand to deflect the ball onto the stumps.

Tendulkar tried to get back but his bat was on the line by the stumps had been disturbed. It must have been the longest trudge back to the pavilion for the Mumbaikar as the crowd once again gave him a standing ovation.