Picture: 123RF/RICHARD THOMAS
Picture: 123RF/RICHARD THOMAS

The miracle England needed did not materialise as India crushed them by 317 runs in the second Test in Chennai to level the series on Tuesday.

Chasing a record victory target of 482, England’s last seven batsmen lasted a little more than a session on the penultimate day as they collapsed to 164 all out. Although it was a marginal improvement from the 134 they managed in the first innings, all 10 English batsmen fell to spin on a turning track where the ball kicked up dust on landing.

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel claimed a five-wicket haul in his debut Test while Ravichandran Ashwin’s tally of eight wickets and a century in the second innings earned him the man of the match award.

Moeen Ali smashed five sixes, including three consecutively off Patel, to top-score for England with 43 off 18 balls, and captain Joe Root made 33 but his team’s run of six away Test victories ended in Chennai.

India will reach the final of the inaugural World Test Championship if they win the series. England must win both remaining matches to make the June final on home soil against New Zealand.

“Our application with the bat was outstanding,” home captain Virat Kohli said after leading India to their biggest victory against England by runs. “Conditions were challenging for both sides but we showed more application to grit it out. It was a perfect game for us.”

Resuming on 53/3, England lost four wickets in the morning session and it could easily have been five as Mohammed Siraj dropped an easy catch at backward point after Root, on 32, reverse-swept Kuldeep Yadav.

By then England had lost all-rounder Ben Stokes, who faced 52 balls for his eight runs before Ashwin dismissed him and the touring side’s resistance effectively ended when Patel removed Root after lunch.

Root mournfully stared at the spot where the ball had landed before kicking up to hit his glove en route to slip. Realising the futility of defending, Moeen went on the attack and entertained the noisy crowd before Kuldeep had him stumped.

“Credit has to go to India, they outplayed us in all three departments,” Root said. “It’s [a] bit of an education for us, we [have] got to learn from this … we [have] got to find a way to scoring runs in these conditions.”

The third Test, a day-night match, starts in Ahmedabad on February 24. India will be fretting on the availability of opener Shubman Gill who sustained a blow to his forearm and did not field on Tuesday.

Reuters

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