India vs England, 5th Test, Match Report

Before the commencement of the 5th Test, England had only pride to play for as the outcome of the series had been decided by the 4th Test. However, professional cricketers pride themselves on putting up good performances whenever they play for their country and these days there is no such thing as a dead rubber. In spite of losing the toss on 4 out of the 5 occasions in this series, India went on to post totals in excess of 400 on all 4 occasions. Alastair Cook won the toss in the Chennai Test and elected to bat. Here is the complete match report.

Ishant Sharma was brought back into the playing XI in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. England got off to a slow start as both Ishant and Umesh Yadav were right on the money. The pitch in Chennai did not have as much bounce as the one in Mumbai and was not conducive for stroke play. Keaton Jennings was the first man to be dismissed when he was caught by Parthiv Patel off the bowling of Ishant Sharma. Cook was caught by Virat Kohli at first slip off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja and England were in trouble at 21/2. However, Joe Root and Moeen Ali set about repairing the damage. They scored at a brisk rate not letting the spinners settle. Moeen played some elegant drives through the off side and the pair put on 146 runs for the 3rd wicket. Root was finally dismissed when he was caught by Parthiv off the bowling of Jadeja for a well-made 88.

Jonny Bairstow scored 49 and England ended the day on 284/4. Ali got his 2nd century of the series and India needed to get early breakthroughs on the 2nd morning to restrict England to a manageable total. Ashwin struck as Stokes got an outside edge which was neatly taken by Parthiv. Jos Buttler was LBW to a full delivery from Ishant Sharma after scoring 5. Ali fell trying to hook Umesh Yadav and was caught by Jadeja and England were reduced to 321/7. However, Liam Dawson and Adil Rashid are both capable batsmen and both made fifties as England's tail wagged to take them to 477 all out. Rashid was caught behind by Parthiv off the bowling of Umesh for 60. Jadeja claimed 3 wickets conceding 106 runs. England had posted a challenging score and India needed to get off to a good start.

Murali Vijay had injured his shoulder while fielding and Parthiv opened the innings in his place. This showed what a team man Parthiv is as he had done the tough job of keeping for 157 overs and then walked out to open the batting just a few minutes later without getting adequate rest. India got away to a confident start with both Parthiv and KL Rahul looking solid without showing any signs of being troubled by the English bowlers. When the two of them were in the middle, the pitch looked really flat and the England bowlers seemed to lack imagination and penetration.

Rahul repeatedly hit the England spinners over the infield and also played some delectable reverse sweeps. Parthiv hit Moeen Ali for a four over mid-wicket but was caught by Buttler off the very next ball when he tried to repeat the shot. For once both Pujara and Kohli failed scoring 16 and 15 respectively. Karun Nair had failed in his first 2 Tests but he was focussed on the task at hand and proved to be the ideal foil for Rahul. Rahul was making batting look so easy and he played with flair and also showed brute power and some deft touches. He reached his first century on Indian soil and his 4th overall. He looked set for a double century when he chased a wide delivery from Rashid and was caught by Buttler on 199. Rahul's knock contained 16 fours and 3 sixes. Vijay was the next man in and he played some good drives as India ended the 3rd day on 391/4.

On the 4th day, the Indian batsmen piled on the agony for England. Nair in particular was in sublime form and played strokes all around the ground. Ashwin made 67 before he was brilliantly caught by a diving Jos Buttler at gully. Nair did not favour any particular area but seemed to find the gaps almost at will. He scored runs all around the park and what set him apart from most of the other Indian batsmen was his ability to play both the orthodox sweep and the reverse sweep almost at will. He kept breaking records after records and the English bowlers had no clue as to how to slop the onslaught.

He reached his triple century cutting Rashid to the point boundary. In the process he became the 2nd Indian to score a triple century after Virender Sehwag. Jadeja scored 51 runs off 55 balls with 1 four and 2 sixes. India declared at 759 for 7 with a lead of 282. This was their highest score in their Test history. Nair remained unbeaten on 303 scored from 381 balls and this was the 4th best strike rate in an innings of over 300 in Tests. England ended the 4th day's play at 12 for no loss after 5 overs.

On the 5th morning Cook and Keaton Jennings showed that there were no demons in the pitch and took England to 97 for no loss at lunch, raising England's hopes of saving the Test. However, Jadeja showed why he is such a dangerous customer as he was getting some deliveries to turn and some to go straight on with the arm. In the session after lunch, England lost 4 wickets in quick succession due to a combination of tight bowling and some injudicious shots. Jadeja set the cat amongst the pigeons by getting both Cook and Root. He took the catch of the match when he ran towards mid-wicket to catch Jonny Bairstow off the bowling of Ishant Sharma.

Moeen Ali played a rash shot of Jadeja and Ashwin took a brilliant catch leaping high at mid-on. Jos Buttler was unbeaten on 6 off 50 balls but could not prevent the inevitable. Jadeja struck the final nail in the coffin when Nair caught Jake Ball at slip for a duck. India had won by an innings and 75 runs and clinched the series 4-0 by a comprehensive margin. This was Kohli's 14th win as skipper of India in Tests.

Karun Nair was named the Man of the Match for his triple century and Virat Kohli was named Man of the Series for scoring 655 runs.

Image Courtesy: BCCI

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