India collapse hands England victory by an innings and 76 runs; series levelled 1-1
By Devarchit Varma August 29, 2021
England seamer Ollie Robinson blew away India on the fourth day morning of the third Test at Headingley in Leeds to hand his team a huge victory by an innings and 76 runs, which also helped them level the five-match series 1-1 with two more matches left to play.
The visiting side, which had put on a strong resistance on the third day after their top order finally came to the party, collapsed from 215/2 to 278 all out in a little over an hour or so, with none of the Indian players being able to produce any sort of resistance.
The procession began when Cheteshwar Pujara, batting on 91 not out overnight, failed to score on the fourth day morning and he shouldered his arms to an incoming delivery from Robinson. With the batsmen offering no shot, England went for a DRS appeal when the umpire declined their request for a leg-before, which they managed to turn in their favour with the intervention of technology.
India captain Virat Kohli has been desperately struggling for big runs and the stage was set for the run-machine to end his drought of centuries on the fourth day. But having completed his half-century, Kohli edged one meekly behind to be caught in the first slip by his English counterpart Joe Root, after scoring 55 from 125 balls with eight fours.
If losing the settled pair of Pujara and Kohli was not enough, India slipped further when their vice-captain and a perennial struggler for runs, Ajinkya Rahane also edged one meekly behind to be caught by Jos Buttler off James Anderson for a 25-ball 10.
Rishabh Pant ceased to appear as a Test batsman during his forgettable stay of seven balls, in which he could manage only one run. He was caught in the slip by Craig Overton off Robinson, who had by now made it clear that India were headed for a huge defeat.
And it was only a matter of a few minutes more to come as England went on to seal a huge victory after being dominated for the large part of the first two Test matches. Ravindra Jadeja tried to reduce the margin of defeat by striking five boundaries and a six to make 30 from 25 balls, but his stay in the middle was ended by Overton.
Moeen Ali produced a brilliant delivery that spun into Mohammad Shami, passing through his bat and pads to crash into the wickets. Ishant Sharma was the fifth and final victim of Robinson, who returned with figures of 26-6-65-5.
The final wicket of the game was taken by Overton, who had Mohammed Siraj caught in the slip by Jonny Bairstow for a second-ball duck.
The visiting Indian side, despite producing special performances over the course of the first two matches on the tour, were always behind in this contest when they were bowled out for a mere 78 in the first innings on the first day. England had piled up a huge total of 423 in which their captain Root scored his third century, that too on the trot against India, to power them to a huge first innings lead of 354 runs.
It can be said that changes in the batting department or imminent after such an embarrassing performance yet again, with the future of two of India’s senior most players, Pujara and Rahane under heavy scrutiny while Kohli getting away for the fact that he is the team’s captain can really do they get dropped for not performing be it home or away.
The first Test of the series had ended in a disappointing draw after India’s total 157 runs away from victory on the fifth and final day but inclement weather did not allow a single ball to be bowled. On the other hand, India had produced a remarkable turnaround on the fifth and final day of the second Test at Lord’s to record a 151 run victory to take a 1–0 lead in the series.
Devarchit Varma is a cricket writer and journalist with an experience of more than a decade, having worked at Hindustan Times (newspaper) and CricketCountry (website). Along with covering international and domestic cricket, he has also interviewed several current and former top players such as Rohit Sharma, Steve Smith, Dale Steyn, Michael Hussey, Jacques Kallis, Brendon McCullum, Shane Watson, Lasith Malinga and many more. He has also worked in other beats as a journalist in Bollywood (Reliance BigOye) and IT (SiliconIndia) industries.
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