Despite relinquishing the series 1-3 with a match to spare, India skipper Virat Kohli lauded the intensity shown by his men and vowed to come back stronger in the final match at the Oval.
“I thought England played really well to give us that target, seeing how the pitch was and the ball was spinning, it was challenging for us,” Kohli said after the match.
“We thought we were in with a chance last night but we didn’t get the start we wanted, they were relentless with the ball and applied pressure throughout. Credit to them, they bowled well and we couldn’t get enough.
“There were many factors, but not many negatives, England played better than us and deserved the win. We need to take the positives into the next Test match.
“Apart from Lord’s I don’t think we have been outplayed, it’s been enjoyable, teams going at each other with good quality. We’ll go to the Oval and come out with the same intensity.”
Kohli, who went past 500 runs individually in the series, lauded England youngster Sam Curran for his fighting displays with the bat in both the innings. The 20-year-old England all-rounder struck a brilliant 78 in the first innings before following it up with an equally crucial 46 in the second innings.
“I think it’s great to have guys who strike the ball well in those positions, you can get a partnership together and hurt the opposition,” Kohli said about the youngster.
“They are fearless and have skills, they were braver than us in tough positions. Runs from the lower order were significant, I congratulate Sam Curran, he’s been a fine cricketer.”
The fifth and final Test between the two sides will get underway at the Oval in London on September 7.
With England’s final two wickets falling early on day four, India were set a stiff target of 245 to win in the final innings. In a topsy-turvy chase in which both sides took turns to impose themselves, it was England who came out on top ultimately as they secured a 3-1 win in the five-match series.
India eventually folded for 184 runs in their second innings as their hopes of taking the series into a decider at The Oval were cruelly dashed.
Here, we look at the key talking points from the clash.
ANDERSON AND BROAD DESTROY INDIA’S TOP ORDER
India would have been hoping for a decent start from their openings in their fourth innings chase after bundling out the final two English wickets early on day four. Those hopes, however, were quickly dashed with England’s new-ball pairing of James Anderson and Stuart Broad breathing havoc at the start of the innings.
The two England pacers were getting the ball to move both ways at will and with the odd delivery staying low, the batsmen were in for a testing period. KL Rahul was the first to perish before even opening his account after an excellent inswinger from Broad kept a touch low before shattering his stumps.
Anderson soon got into the act himself and he had India’s first-innings centurion Cheteshwar Pujara trapped plumb on the pads with a delivery that tailed in late. England’s all-time leading wicket-taker had his second scalp soon after with Shikhar Dhawan edging one to gully after a tumultuous stay at the crease.
That wicket meant India were reduced to 22 for three in their chase of 245 with the hosts sniffing blood.
KOHLI AND RAHANE LEAD INDIA’S FIGHTBACK
In keeping with the script of the match, a further twist was in store despite India’s top-order collapse. Skipper Virat Kohli and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane came together after the early damage and reignited India’s hopes with a century stand between them.
Kohli looked to be in the zone as he went after any loose delivery on offer despite the odd ball giving him a scare. He survived a contentious leg-before decision against Moeen Ali while batting on nine before going past 500 runs in the series.
Rahane, on the other hand, looked resolute for the most part as he kept one end steady for India. Both the batsmen notched up their respective half-centuries and while they were there together at the crease, an India win was looking very much the likely outcome.
MOEEN ALI SPINS ENGLAND TO VICTORY
Just when India had started to dream of pulling off a famous overseas chase, Moeen Ali turned hero for England once again with the ball.
The all-rounder’s five-wicket haul had brought the hosts roaring back in the first innings and in the second, he provided the crucial breakthrough just when England desperately needed it.
Moments before lunch, the off-spinner saw Alastair Cook drop a sharp chance off Kohli’s bat.
However, he would not be denied in the very next delivery with the ball kissing the edge off Kohli’s bat before lobbing off the pads into the hands of Cook who made no mistake this time.
Post lunch, Ali extinguished Rishab Pant’s brief counter-attack after having the India wicketkeeper caught in the deep.
When he trapped Rahane leg-before wicket for 51, the match had well and truly turned England’s way. Moeen though, wasn’t done yet, as he claimed the wicket of Mohammed Shami to complete a nine-wicket haul in the match.
His superb display in the Test drew flashbacks to his 6-67 against the same opponents at the very same venue in 2014.
Set 245 for victory in the final innings, India were bowled out for 184 runs as the hosts took an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
In a game which was the perfect advert for Test cricket, fortunes changed ends at the drop of a hat before finally nestling in England’s lap.
Here, we rate the 22 players across both sides at the end of an enthralling Test match.
Alastair Cook – 4
The veteran opener’s poor form with the bat showed no signs of abetting with scores of 17 and 12 in his two innings.
Keaton Jennings – 6
The England opener fell for a duck in the first innings but showed plenty of fight in the second with a gritty knock of 39.
Joe Root – 6
The England skipper could only muster four runs in the first go but his 48-run knock in the second was pivotal in the hosts’ win.
Jonny Bairstow – 3
It was a game to forget for Bairstow who played as a specialist batsman. He could only accumulate six runs in the two innings.
Moeen Ali – 9
The all-rounder scored an enterprising 40 in the first innings but he was England’s undeniable star with the ball with a nine-wicket haul.
Jos Buttler – 7
The wicketkeeper-batsman’s 69-run knock in the second innings pulled the hosts from the brink and set them on the path to victory.
Ben Stokes – 7
The star all-rounder chipped in with handy contributions with both bat and ball in each of the two innings at Southampton.
Sam Curran – 9
The youngster once again proved to be a thorn in the flesh for India with scores of 78 and 46 from the bat along with the vital wicket of Kohli in the first innings.
Adil Rashid – 4
Once again, the Yorkshire man was very much a spectator for the most part and bowled only 14 overs overall without any wickets to show for.
Stuart Broad – 7
The England pacer picked up three wickets in the first innings and then provided the hosts with the early breakthrough in the second.
James Anderson – 7
The England veteran went wicketless in the first innings but his two early wickets in the second gave the hosts the perfect platform to aim for a win.
KL Rahul – 4
The India opener was unable to repeat his Trent Bridge display and fell cheaply in both innings.
Shikhar Dhawan – 5
The left-hander showed some gumption in both innings by getting off to starts but couldn’t push on for the big score.
Cheteshwar Pujara – 7
The top-order batsman’s masterful unbeaten ton in the first innings kept India in the hunt but was dismissed for just five in the second innings.
Virat Kohli – 7
The India skipper played vital hands in both innings as he went past 6, 000 Test runs overall and 500 in the series. Unfortunately, he was dismissed at the worst possible time in both of the innings.
Ajinkya Rahane – 6
The deputy India skipper was unable to make a difference in the first innings but notched up a hard-fought half-century in the second.
Hardik Pandya – 4
Just the one wicket and four runs to show for the India all-rounder in a disappointing display.
Rishabh Pant – 4
A harsh reality check for the young wicketkeeper who was dismissed for a 29-ball duck in the first innings.
Ravichandran Ashwin – 5
The India off-spinner picked up two wickets in the first innings but could only take one more in the second. His failure on a pitch where Moeen bagged nine wickets reflects poorly on him.
Mohammed Shami – 7
The pacer bagged a six-wicket haul in the match and was generally a threat throughout.
Ishant Sharma – 7
Like Shami, Ishant too was a handful for the English batsmen in both innings with the pacer picking up two wickets in each of them.
Jasprit Bumrah – 6
The fast-bowler was menacing at times as shown by his first-innings display but did not create the impact he would have liked in the second.