England slip to two-day defeat to India in third Test as 17 wickets fall for 176 runs on second day’s play; Joe Root takes Test-best figures of 5-8 as India collapse to 145 all out but England then bowled out for 81 in second innings, setting up 10-wicket win for home side
Last Updated: 25/02/21 2:58pm
England succumbed to a 10-wicket defeat inside two days in the third day-night Test against India, after an extraordinary second day’s play in Ahmedabad which saw 17 wickets fall for 176 runs.
England were bowled out for 81 in their second innings on a treacherous turning track, and that was after some earlier heroics from Joe Root – claiming a maiden Test five-for – saw India collapse to 145 all out in the morning.
It left the home side a slender target of 49 to chase, never enough runs for England to play with. Defeat now knocks them out of contention in the ICC World Test Championship, while they trail 2-1 in the series heading into the final Test back at the Narendra Modi Stadium next Thursday.
India had started the day 99-3 in their first innings, trailing the tourists by only 13, but they too came unstuck to spin, losing their final seven wickets for 31 runs, with Root returning remarkable figures of 5 for 8 in 6.2 overs.
Suddenly, England were back in with a sniff in the Test match – only 33 runs in arrears after the first innings’ – but Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow were sent packing inside the opening three deliveries of their second dig and the visiting side were ultimately bundled out inside a session.
Axar Patel (5-32) returned a second five-for, taking his tally to 11 for the match, while Ravichandran Ashwin (4-48) claimed his 400th Test wicket in just his 77th cap.
Root (19) and Ben Stokes (25) had offered brief hope of England building a challenging target to set India batting last, putting on 31 for the fourth wicket, but the pair departed within an over of each other and then Axar and Ashwin swept aside the lower order – the last seven wickets costing 31 runs.
Lacking in significant scoreboard pressure, India made light work of their chase, Rohit Sharma (25no) sealing victory inside 7.4 overs with a six.
It is only the 22nd time in the history of Test cricket a match has finished inside two days, and just the eighth, and shortest in terms of balls bowled, instance since the second World War.
Earlier, Jack Leach (4-54) kick-started the day’s carnage by removing Ajinkya Rahane (7) and Test top-scorer Rohit (66) in back-to-back overs – both out lbw – prompting Root to bring himself into the attack, and the England skipper then ran through the lower order in a devastating spell.
Root first claimed the wicket of danger man Rishabh Pant (1), caught behind, with his very first ball; Washington Sundar and Axar both departed for ducks in the space of three deliveries; Ashwin (17) holed out to deep square-leg and then the innings was wrapped up with Jasprit Bumrah (1) trapped in front.
A buoyed England batting lineup was quickly rocked, though, as Crawley was bowled with the first ball of their second innings by a sharp turner from Axar and, while Bairstow managed to overturn an lbw decision against him second ball, he was bowled by the third – this one going straight on, with the scrambled batsman playing for turn.
Dom Sibley (7) was next, uncharacteristically coming a cropper when attempting an extravagant heave to leg and edging Axar behind.
Root and Stokes counter-punched as they so frequently do with great success, but the warning signs were there that England still had a significant task on their hands even as the pair’s partnership took the tourists into a lead.
Root survived an lbw decision against Axar when on 16 – a faint inside edge saving him on review – but inside the space of four overs, Stokes and he were both gone, lbw to Ashwin and Axar respectively.
England’s lower order provided little resistance thereafter in the face of supremely skilful spin bowling and India’s openers made swift work of the double-digit target left for them.
Follow text commentary from the fourth Test between India and England in Ahmedabad on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app from 4am on Thursday, March 4.