India rout England by 10 wickets inside two days of third Test
England collapsed to another humiliating defeat in the third Test against India as Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin bowled the tourists out for 81.
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill made short work of a victory target of 49 as India wrapped up victory by 10 wickets inside two days to go 2-1 up in the four-match series. It is only the seventh two-day Test in the past 75 years and will leave England with many questions to ponder before returning to the Narendra Modi Stadium for the final Test next Thursday.
Seventeen wickets fells in just two sessions of the day-night match on Wednesday as batsmen on both sides lined up to be bamboozled by the spinning – and non-spinning – pink ball.
England were buoyant after the afternoon’s play, when a hot streak of seven for 31 – including a staggering return of five for eight by captain Joe Root – hauled them back into the game following their first-day blow out. By dismissing the hosts for 145 they had kept the deficit to a seemingly manageable 33, better than they could have possibly hoped for, but the same conditions which had turned Root’s occasional off-breaks into unplayable hand grenades soon left England’s batsman on the canvass.
In an explosive start to the innings Patel took out Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow in the first three balls, dropping a heavy and painful hint of the chaos to come. Patel was relentless as he picked vast holes in the batting order, pounding away mercilessly and cashing in on the mass inability to distinguish between his big turners and skiddy arm balls. He claimed five for 32 to complete a 10-wicket match haul, while Ashwin moved to 400 Test scalps with four of his own.
India began on 99 for three in reply to England’s 112, moving into the lead after 15 undramatic minutes at the start of the day. Things would never return to that kind of calmness, with Jack Leach setting in motion a staggering phase of spin domination that surely showed up the pitch as one incapable of providing a squarely balanced contest between bat and ball. A highlights package of dismissals would show an abundance of players on either side misreading, misjudging or simply missing deliveries that went straight on but that would unfairly discount the huge number either side that ragged sharply to sow the seeds of doubt.
Ajinkya Rahane was the first to fall, pinned in front by Leach with the lead standing at just two. Rohit Sharma, a half-centurion overnight and fresh off the back of a match-winning century in Chennai, was close behind as a botched sweep shot handed Leach another decision.
After an initial blast of Anderson, Root bowed to the inevitable conclusion that his side should have gone in with another specialist spinner and he would be needed to fill the gap. It is hard to imagine the overlooked Dom Bess or the departed Moeen Ali could have done better than the skipper, though, as he picked up three wickets without conceding a run.