Woeful England slump to heavy defeat
England slid quickly to a predictable innings and series defeat on the final morning of the fourth Test against India at the Wankhede Stadium.
Ravi Ashwin (six for 55) was the appropriate enforcer for India, with his brilliant spin variations, as England lasted only 33 minutes on the way from 182 for six to 195 all out - having lost their last six wickets for just 15 runs.
The match therefore reached a largely foregone conclusion, amid tetchy exchanges between the tourists’ number 11 James Anderson and Ashwin.
Irrespective of that, the statistics make grim reading for England and their supporters as they became only the third team in Test history to lose a match by an innings after making 400 or more first time round.
The exact margin, an innings and 36 runs, was an accurate depiction of India’s supremacy - as is their 3-0 series-winning advantage, with one match still to play.
England, meanwhile, have lost five of their last seven Tests at home and abroad, and seven times in the calendar year.
It remains to be seen whether that sequence of setbacks, the last three against a team who have been unbeatable by anyone at home since England last travelled here with success four years ago, has any impact on the continued longevity of Alastair Cook’s captaincy.
If England were to delay India at all, it seemed Jonny Bairstow had to be a key player.
But he was gone for the addition of just a single to his overnight 50 in only the second full over of the day to an outstanding piece of bowling from Ashwin, who moved the ball in the opposite direction to his conventional off-break to beat his victim on the outside edge and have him lbw deep in the crease.
A perfectly-pitched off-break then did for Chris Woakes, for a six-ball duck, in Ashwin’s next over.
The neat sequence of one success per Ashwin over continued when Adil Rashid was compliant with a flick straight into the hands of deep midwicket.
Anderson’s arrival triggered a worsening of Ashwin’s mood, as the pair twice appeared to swap pointed observations at close quarters which required the intervention of both umpires.
There was nothing left to talk about, though, when Anderson chipped his adversary to midwicket to complete England’s defeat and leave Ashwin to celebrate his 12th wicket of the match and 27th in the series.
Cook said afterwards: “I thought 400 was a pretty good score on that wicket.
“Historically on this ground 400 is a good score in the first innings, in the second innings we had our chances and in these conditions and this team at the moment and we are not taking our chances.
“They were 300 for six and Virat (Kohli) played an extraordinary innings but we had a chance on 60-odd to get rid of him. (Jayant) Yadav got a hundred and we had a couple of chances to get rid of him and those are the things the games are changing.
“We were in the game for three days but we were not good enough to take those opportunities and that is what has cost us. Full credit to India, they have played great cricket and deserve to win the series.
“We need to play a perfect game to win out here and we keep missing those opportunities in the field.
“We scored almost 600 runs on this wicket. To me we have batted better than we have in the last two Tests. I keep going back to the chances in this game. We had opportunities to bowl out India for 400 and we just didn’t take them.”
India captain Virat Kohli was the beneficiary of one of those dropped chances and he made England pay, going on to make 235 and help his side build a sizeable lead.
“It is a very special feeling,” he said. “Conceding 400 runs in the first innings was a tough challenge but the guys are mentally ready to fight it out.
“Getting a 231-run lead has deflated the opposition, we saw that, we saw their body language. We knew this game was wrapped up when we got the 231-run lead.”