Back to square one

After an emphatic win at the Lord’s, listless India suffer 266-run crushing defeat in the third Test l Eng level five-match series 1-1

Southampton

A listless India crashed to a humiliating 266-run defeat against England in the third Test after an abject batting surrender allowed the hosts to level the five-match series 1-1 on Thursday.

Needing to bat out the whole day with six wickets in hand in order to save the match, Indian batting crumbled in the first session itself getting bundled out for a meagre 178 in 66.4 overs in a completely lopsided contest at the Ageas Bowl.

It was one of the biggest defeats for India in terms of runs on English soil but not their worst, having lost a Test match by a mammoth 319 runs in Nottingham during the last tour in 2011.

For England, the victory meant an end to a winless streak of 10 Test matches starting from the Ashes Down Under.

To add insult to the injury, it was part-time off-spinner Moeen Ali, who bamboozled the lower-order batsmen with his career-best haul of 6 for 67 in 20.4 overs.

Pacer Jimmy Anderson provided the first breakthrough in the morning when he had Rohit Sharma (6) nibbling at an away-going delivery to be caught by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (6) couldn’t replicate the resilience of the first innings as he was again a victim of an outswinger, edging to the keeper.

While Ajinkya Rahane waged a lone battle at the other end, he could do little as he saw wickets falling like nine pins at the other end.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar got out to a bat-pad catch with a delivery that spun in after pitching. His maiden ‘five-for’ was completed when a typical off-break cleaned up Mohammed Shami.

Rahane duly got his second half-century of the match hitting a brilliant square drive off Chris Woakes with No 11 Pankaj Singh for company.

Pankaj was finally cleaned up by Moeen for his sixth scalp as he played inside the line.

MSD blames batsmen

India skipper MS Dhoni blamed his batsmen for the “soft dismissals” and said they would need to discuss their four-bowler strategy ahead of the fourth rubber.

Asked about the decision to go with four bowlers in the third Test, Dhoni said: “The reason for using four bowlers is that we never used the fifth. We just used him for 10 and 8 overs. With Shikhar and Vijay and Rohit around we thought we could do it. But it’s the bowling we need to improve and hit the top of off stump. We will have to think about the four-bowler strategy. We can say the extra batsman didn’t score, but then again the extra bowler didn’t pick up wickets. So we have to discuss a lot and decide on the basis of the pitch.”

Part-time off-spinner Moeen Ali’s six-wicket haul saw India bundle out for 178 in the second innings to earn a huge win for England and draw level in the five-Test series and Dhoni said his batsmen should have been more positive.

“I don’t think we played good cricket. We played the fast bowlers well. Moeen (Ali) bowled well, but we also allowed him to bowl well,” said Dhoni after India lost the third Test by a huge 266 runs.

“He bowled good lines and one ball will turn, there is some wear on the wicket and we should have been more positive.

“There were quite a few soft dismissals during the phase where Jinx (Ajinkya Rahane) got out and a couple of other wickets that fell. The last session on Wednesday, we lost too many wickets. We could have looked at the Test a different way without that.”

Asked about debutant fast bowler Pankaj Singh, Dhoni said: “Pankaj bowled really well, tall guy bowled good lengths. In this pitch, he bowled the right length. He could have got three wickets but it just didn’t go his way. Shami and Bhuvi bowled well too.”

Eng 1st innings

569/7 decl

India 1st innings

330 All-out

Eng 2nd innings

205/4 decl

India 2nd innings

M Vijay run out…………………………12

S Dhawan  c Jordan  b Root………..37

C Pujara c Jordan b Ali…………………2

V Kohli c  Buttler b Ali……………….28

A Rahane not out……………………..52

Rohit c Buttler b Anderson…………..6

MS Dhoni c Buttler b Anderson…….6

R Jadeja b Ali…………………………..15

B Kumar c Anderson b Ali……………0

M Shami b Ali……………………………0

Pankaj b Ali……………………………….9

Extras: (b4, lb6, w1)………………..11

Total: (All out in 66.4 ovrs)178

FoW: 1-26, 2-29, 3-80, 4-89, 5-112, 6-120, 7-152, 8-152, 9-154.

Bowling: Anderson 14-5-24-2, Broad 13-6-22-0, Woakes 11-3-23-0, Ali 20.4-4-67-6, Jordan 5-0-22-0, Root 2-0-5-1, Ballance 1-0-5-0.

—PTI

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