In the end, the series that had started with much anticipation about Joe Root-led England team, ended with a whimper as India won the fourth and final Test match in Ahmedabad by an innings and 25 runs within three days to win the series 3-1. India have thus qualified for the final of the World Test Championship.
England were thoroughly outplayed in the three Tests after their victory in Chennai in the opening Test. A lot of sound and fury erupted about the nature of the surface in Ahmedabad after England lost the third Test within two days. However, all that died down and even the British media and some former English cricketers had to accept India’s superiority after Root and his men came a copper on a sporting pitch in Ahmedabad in the final Test.
The third day of the fourth Test started with India looking to consolidate their lead as Washington Sundar and Axar Patel frustrated the English bowlers. Axar was unlucky to be run out on 43 and Stokes removed the last two men for ducks to leave Sundar unbeaten on 96, agonizingly short of his maiden Test hundred. The hosts posted 365 in the first innings, taking a lead of 160 runs.
England needed a strong start from their batsmen but it wasn’t to be as the duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel got on to dismantling the visitors yet again.
Ashwin picked two early wickets. He dismissed Zak Crawley just after lunch and on the very next ball, Jonny Bairstow hit it straight to Rohit Sharma to give the off spinner his second scalp.
Before England could get any form of resistance in, Axar Patel managed to get a nick off Dominic Sibley’s bat, and Rishabh Pant made no mistakes behind the stumps.
Joe Root and Ollie Pope added 35 runs after Axar got the big wicket of Ben Stokes, but Axar broke the partnership, as he got rid of Pope for 15. The right-hander charged up a slow, flighted delivery, but was caught miles ahead of his crease as Pant calmly plucked off the bails.
In the very next over, Joe Root was trapped plumb in front of the wicket by Ashwin, who was bowling round the wicket, for 30 and that ended any chance that England had of pulling a rabbit out of the hat.
Ben Foakes and Dan Lawrence did stitch a small partnership but it the fight was ended by Axar Patel when he got Foakes out for 13.
The left-arm spinner then got rid of Dom Bess to complete his fourth five-for in only his third Test.
Ashwin ended Jack Leach’s vigil soon after and then accounted for Dan Lawrence to seal the match and series.
For England, Lawrence played a lone hand with a fighting fifty (50).
Earlier, Pant had smashed 101 runs to help India come out of a hole at 146/6, trailing England by 59 runs. Pant strung together a crucial partnership with Washington Sundar to give India a big lead, which was extended by Sundar and Axar.
Axar, Ashwin and Siraj had combined to dismiss the visitors for a low score on day one after Root had decided to bat first on winning the toss.
It was a series where the duo of Axar and Ashwin spun a web around the English batsmen. Root’s double century in the first Test was the only innings of substance from the visitors throughout the course of the series.
Rohit Sharma was the stand out batsman for India with a century and a couple of half centuries to his name. Rishabh Pant made important contributions with the bat.