Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team booked their place in the World Test Championship final as they thumped a hapless England by an innings and 25 runs at the Motera Stadium in Hyderabad.
The emphatic victory also meant that the hosts finish first in the WTC points table with 520 points. New Zealand, whom India will face in the final at the Lord's Stadium in June, are second with 420 points.
England's decision to bat first seemingly backfired, as they were bowled out for 205, with Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin leading the demolition job. Once India came out to bat, they were given a scare as they were reduced to 146/6 in the 59th over of their first innings.
However, the scenario got a new twist as Rishabh Pant scored a match-defining century on Day 2 and was supported by Washington Sundar, who missed out on his maiden Test ton as he remained unbeaten on 96.
Trailing by 160 runs, Joe Root and Co. made a horror start to their second innings as they lost three wickets for just 20 runs within the first ten overs. Going forward, it was just a crash course for England as Axar and Ashwin together bagged their fourth and third five-wicket hauls respectively in the series.
Two Indian bowlers with 5 wkts in same innings:— Rajneesh Gupta (@rgcricket) March 6, 2021
L Amarnath & V Mankad (v E, Manchester,1946)
S Gupte & V Mankad (v WI, K'ton,1953)
B Bedi & E Prasanna (v A, Delhi,1969)
Kapil & Ghavri (v A, Sydney,1981)
Kapil & Madan (v E, Mumbai,1981)
Axar & Ashwin (v E, A'bad, 2021)#INDvENG
Ravichandran Ashwin, in particular, played out one of the finest Test series of his career as he bagged his 30th five-wicket haul in just 78 Tests, an astonishing 32 wickets in the India-England Test series, and also equalled Rangana Herath’s tally of most fifers in a winning cause in Tests - 25.
Most wickets by R Ashwin in a Test series:— Umang Pabari (@UPStatsman) March 6, 2021
32 : #INDvENG , 2020/21*
31 : v South Africa (in India), 2015/16
29 : v Australia (in India), 2012/13
Most 5-fors coming in won Tests:— Umang Pabari (@UPStatsman) March 6, 2021
41 : M Muralitharan
27 : Shane Warne
25 : R Ashwin*
25 : R Herath#INDvsENG
Axar Patel, on the other hand, recorded a memorable Test series debut for India, as he bagged 27 wickets, thus equalling Dilip Doshi’s 41-year-old record of 27 wickets against Australia in 1979/80.
Most wickets in debut Test series for India:— Umang Pabari (@UPStatsman) March 6, 2021
27 : Axar Patel v Eng, 2020/21* (3 Tests)
27 : Dilip Doshi v Aus, 1979/80 (6 Tests)
24 : Shivlal Yadav v Aus, 1979/80 (5 Tests)
22 : R Ashwin v WI, 2011/12 (3 Tests)#INDvENG
Head coach Ravi Shastri went on record to heap praise on Rishabh Pant, commending him for his hard work despite the backlash for his past performances.
‘Yesterday‘s innings is probably the best counter-attacking innings I’ve seen in India, by an Indian batsmen’.— Chloe-Amanda Bailey (@ChloeAmandaB) March 6, 2021
Ravi Shastri speaking about Rishabh Pant’s incredible innings. 🇮🇳🏴 #INDvENG pic.twitter.com/WNrWasZfXu
Here’s how Twitter reacted to India’s commanding victory.
0-1 down in the series to winning it 3-1 💪🎉 Character-Belief-Faith. Complete team effort. India India india 🧿❤️🔥 #INDvsENG— Surya Kumar Yadav (@surya_14kumar) March 6, 2021
India have been far too good ... the last 3 Tests they have absolutely hammered England ... If they can win in England they are without doubt the best Test team of this era ... but that will take some doing against the swinging ball ... #INDvENG— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) March 6, 2021
Fantastic victory #TeamIndia!— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) March 6, 2021
Many congratulations on reaching the #WTCFinal.
Absolutely enjoyed the way each player contributed in every department throughout the series, especially @RishabhPant17, @Sundarwashi5, @akshar2026, @ashwinravi99 & @ImRo45.#INDvENG pic.twitter.com/y1gwRn3cKR
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Sajjad Hussain