There was a point in the fourth test between India and England when the hosts were 30-odd runs behind their opponents with only three wickets remaining.
It was a false dawn though and the masterful Kohli and magnificent Jayant Yadav (in only his third test) combined to take the match and with it any hopes of a series draw beyond the grasp of the visitors.
It served to underline the gulf in experience of conditions on the sub-continent. India rammed home their greater knowledge and understanding of how to play in such an arena. Through most of this series they have been the far better of the sides and a win was inevitable once a lead of 200 was surrendered.
The way England capitulated this morning was though disappointing to say the least. Defeat may have been inevitable but a line up with such quality and depth should not have crumbled so easily.
So the series is lost and with it, I would suspect, will end Cook’s tenure as captain. The momentum is now with India and if I was a betting man I would lay down a few quid on a fourth victory in the fifth and final test.
Had England won this series it would have been a minor miracle. A spin quartet of Rashid, Ali, Barry and Ansari was never going to seriously trouble India on home conditions and England lack an X-factor twirler.
Nevertheless Rashid and Ali have shown themselves competent. Ansari is perhaps a work in progress. I can’t see Batty realistically adding to his caps unless he gets one final hurrah in the dead-rubber final test.
Woakes had continued to show his ability in difficult conditions and Stokes is rapidly becoming an all-rounder of world class ability.
In the batting line up Hameed has shown himself to be capable of playing test cricket for years to come. Much has and will be written about him and the administrators need to make sure they nurture and develop his undoubted talent. Well done to Keaton Jennings too – scoring a century on debut is no mean feat.
Likely captain elect Joe Root has scored a reasonable amount of runs and Jonny Bairstow has continued to impress both behind the stumps and with bat in hand. After a fair while since his last test it was good to see Jos Buttler in the runs too. He’s another with undoubted talent and always useful as the back-up stumper on a tour.
All in all then a few reasons to be cheerful for England but well done in particular to the Indians and their ruthless dismissal of the opposition.
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