England vs India 4th Test, Day 4 Review: Kohli and Rahane toil but Moeen directs a series win
The home team continued their winning sequence against the Indians at home.
Updated - Sep 2, 2018 10:15 pm
It was expected to be a tough toil for India. They did manage to wrap the English tail early on day 4 but by then the target was 245. The best India ever chased in England was 173; thus this was a challenge to swim against the tide and cross the stream without being washed away. Skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane were in it and till the point they were there India were in. But in the end, it was Moeen who mattered. The spinner picked up a four-wicket haul to complement his fifer in the first innings and helped England register a tremendous series win.
At the start of the day, the Indians would’ve wanted to get ensure Sam Curran didn’t cause more damage. He was already batting on 37, Mohammed Shami brought a smile on their faces immediately scalping Stuart Broad with the first ball. James Anderson survived 9 balls as Curran added another nine runs to his overnight score before being run out and England were all out for 271. Shami was the pick of the Indian bowlers with four in the second innings and once again proved his skills moving the ball both ways.
Branderson trump the openers
For the job to be done one of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul rather both of them had to deliver. But the right-hander once again failed to address his woes against the incoming ball and by bagging a duck has certainly opened the gate for the team management to search for another opener. In his second over a good length delivery from Broad kept low, took the bottom edged and crashed into his stumps.
Both the new-ball bowlers Stuart Broad and James Anderson were really running in and gave the Indians a run for their money, the ball was doing its bit and there was no getting away for the batters. Cheteshwar Pujara, the centurion from the first innings while attempting to defend an incoming delivery left a huge gap between bat and pad and it hit him dead in front of the wickets. Geoffrey Boycott in the post-lunch show said he could’ve driven his car through that gap. That’s how wide it was.
Dhawan hit three boundaries, looked almost positive and just as it seemed as if he will start to make a difference was caught brilliantly by Ben Stokes at third slip. Suddenly India were three down for 22 and as the script would go it was all up to Kohli again to bail them out of the troubles and also sail the ship home. Rahane at the other end also showed a lot of determination.
Rough roughs India up
After being tested by the pacers early on, it was time Moeen Ali exploited the rough. He had done that exceptionally well in the first innings, getting the ball to turn sharply into the right-handers. Something his opposite number Ravichandran Ashwin failed to do when they were bowling. They were both committed to the task and getting to the pitch of the ball even to defend.
Once Joe Root sensed this ploy he had a silly point right under Kohli’s nose and he was forced to stay on the backfoot. For Rahane, he had a leg-slip and he couldn’t nudge the ball with the turn. All of that just piled on their troubles but the skipper and his deputy weren’t going to give in. When Adil Rashid operated from the other end, they got some runs there and were content with singles or to just play off the off-spinner.
Kohli got to his 19th Test fifty but the port was still a long way off. India had just 112 runs on the board. They raised the hundred of the partnership in the 50th over and England were looking for plan B now. Root had tried Anderson from the other end, rested Moeen for a bit, Stokes was in the attack as well.
In the very next over, consistently pitching the ball in the rough paid off as it brushed past his gloves to the forward short-leg fielder Alastair Cook and everyone knew there was only one way this game would go now. The 101-run partnership that lasted 42.2 overs was finally broken.
No order in the lower order
Hardik Pandya continued his struggles in the match with the bat and edged one from Stokes it to second slip on nought. Rahane was still there and some hope for India. He got to his fifty off 147 balls and one has to recognize the quality of the effort. But it was for nothing until he converted.
Rishabh Pant his new partner did what he does best, hit Stokes for a boundary third ball and Moeen for a six the first ball they faced off. While Rahane played thrice the balls per run Pant was scoring at 150. After hitting the offie for a boundary in the 59th over he played one shot too many, an indication of his inexperience and holed out in the deep.
Rahane also lost the battle and was LBW again on the delivery that turned big from the rough. Sam Curran the one man who’s made the difference twice between the two teams rightly got the final wicket. It was just a matter of time then and India were eventually bowled out on 184 losing the game by 60 runs and with that, the series goes to the home team 3-1.
After Kohli got out on 123, the last 6 batsmen could just add 61 runs while it has been England’s lower order that has come to their rescue each time they’ve won. Moeen Ali making a comeback in this game after being out for the first three matches got 9 wickets in the match and a crucial 40 in the first innings to be the best choice for the Man of the Match.
England – 246 (Sam Curran 78; Jasprit Bumrah 3/46)
India – 273 (Cheteshwar Pujara 132*, Virat Kohli 46; Moeen Ali 5/63, Stuart Broad 3/63)
England – 271 (Jos Buttler 69, Joe Root 48; Mohammed Shami 4/57)
India – 184 (Virat Kohli 58, Ajinkya Rahane 51; Moeen Ali 4/71)
England won the match by 60 runs and take the series 3-1
Man of the Match: Moeen Ali