England crumble as inspired India sweep to victory

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‘That’s the game, surely!’ – India close in on victory with Root wicket
India 191 (Woakes 4-55) & 466 (Rohit 127)
England 290 (Pope 81) & 210 (Hameed 63, Umesh 3-60)
India won by 157 runs

England’s batting disintegrated in the face of an inspired India, who won the fourth Test by 157 runs to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

Set an unlikely 368 for victory or, more realistically, batting out the fifth day, England were dismissed for 210 on a blameless pitch at the Kia Oval.

Haseeb Hameed made 63 before becoming the first of four wickets to fall for only six runs.

India pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah was sensational, reverse-swinging the ball at 90mph. The delivery he produced to bowl Jonny Bairstow was near unplayable.

Bumrah ended with 2-27, Shardul Thakur and Ravindra Jadeja also took two apiece, and Umesh Yadav picked up the final three.

India need to avoid defeat in the final Test at Emirates Old Trafford, starting on Friday, to win a series in the UK for the first time since 2007.

England v India: ‘He knew he’d had it’ – Dawid Malan run out for five

Ruthless India close in on series win

This was a predatory final-day performance by India, who won the match despite being 127-7 on day one, conceding a first-innings lead of 99 and being 213 ahead with only four wickets hand at one stage on Sunday.

From 77-0 overnight, England talked about the possibility of pulling off their highest successful chase in Test cricket, but, even on such a good batting pitch, a draw would have felt like a creditable result.

However, once the tourists sensed victory, and with captain Virat Kohli conducting the ecstatic India support among a sold-out crowd, England were overwhelmed.

It means Joe Root’s side lost after winning the toss and choosing to field first. They dropped six catches in the match and Dawid Malan’s needless run-out on Monday was another example of the hosts being complicit in their own downfall.

That, though, is to take nothing away from India, who lead the series despite omitting masterful off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin throughout.

Here, Thakur twice produced valuable runs from number eight, Rohit Sharma was sublime in making his first overseas Test hundred and India were tactically superb in exploiting reverse-swing on the final day.

After sealing a remarkable victory in Australia in January, India are on the verge of a second iconic away series win this year.

More to follow.

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