Sunday, June 4, 2023

India thump England 3-1 and secure a WTC Final against New Zealand

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The Virat Kohli led Indian team dominated England right throughout the 4th Test match as they win the Paytm Test series comfortably by 3-1 and secure a place in the final of the World Test Championship 2019-21.

England failed to capitalize their decision to bat first as they displayed yet another poor batting performance after being bowled out for 205 in the 1st innings on a sporting wicket which was really good to bat on the 1st day. Ben Stokes was the highest scorer with 55 ( 121) , followed by Lawrence 46(74) . Apart from these two , the other English batsmen yet again failed to make an impact and had no answers for the Indian bowlers. Axar Patel once again showed his calibre as he finished on figures of 4/68 . Ravi Ashwin carried forward his dream run as he picked up 3 crucial wickets. Siraj too chipped in with a couple of wickets.

In reply India were in a spot of bother at one stage at 43/3 when Pujara departed for 17 soon after which , Ben stokes dismissed Virat Kohli for 0 by a snorter of a delivery. Rahane was looking good but just on the stroke of lunch , he too departed for 27 leaving India to 80/4 at lunch on day 2. Ben Stokes and James Anderson displayed some excellent seam bowling as they were getting bounce and seam movement from the wicket. Rohit Sharma held one end tightly as he batted very cautiously and patiently but he was dismissed by Ben Stokes on a superb incoming delivery for a well made 49. With 62 runs still behind from England’s 1st innings score, India were in some sort of trouble.

Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar they tried to steady the ship . Pant, who is known for his aggressive brand of batting , took calculated risks in the initial stage of his innings while Sundar played a calm and patient innings at the other end . Pant changed his gear and took the attack to the opposition and scored his 3rd Test century . His brilliant 101(118) innings included 13 fours and 2 sixes as he smashed the English bowlers all around the park . His reverse sweep against James Anderson was the highlight of his innings as nobody ever had the audacity before to play that shot to someone of Anderson’s reputation.

Axar Patel then joined Washington Sundar as the duo then put up a 106 run partnership for the 8th wicket which helped India to take the lead pass 150. Axar contributed a valuable 43 runs while Sundar remained unbeaten on a brilliant 96 and yet again couldn’t complete his century as he ran out of partners but this 96 would mean far more than a 100 for India . The hosts posted 365 in the 1st innings and took a lead of 160 runs .
With 160 runs behind and by the time England began their 2nd Innings, they were already mentally degraded and were once again outplayed by the spin duo of Axar and Ashwin. England needed more commitment in their batting in the 2nd innings to put up a fight but they failed to do so.

The visitors lost 2 early wickets after lunch on Day 3 as Ashwin picked Crawley (5) and Bairstow (0) in the very next ball . Root and Pope added 35 runs before Pope was stumped in an Axar Patel delivery . In the very next over , Root was dismissed for 30 by Ashwin which ended England’s Hopes of pulling out something special. England’s lower order did try to put up a partnership but Axar Patel and Ashwin wrapped up the England 2nd innings for 135 as the duo picked 5 wickets each. Rishabh Pant was declared the man of the match for his excellent fire powered innings while Ravi Ashwin, who is having his dream run , was adjudicated as the Man of the Series for his 31 wickets in the series with a century to follow up .

England did have their moments especially after defeating India in the 1st Test but failed to carry the momentum forward due to lack of partnerships and have all to blame themselves for . This was another dominant performance from India as they sealed the series 3-1 and qualified for the World Test Championship final and will face New Zealand on 18th June at the home of cricket, Lord’s .

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