For the first time since the 1976/77 tour, England beat India away from home for the second Test running as they wrapped up a seven-wicket victory in Kolkata on the final day.
India were finally bowled out for 247 in their second innings with Ravichandran Ashwin unbeaten on 91 and England closed on 41 for three to go 2-1 up in the series with one game remaining.
Ashwin started the day on 83 and managed to add eight more runs before James Anderson bowled Pragyan Ojha for three, leaving England a paltry target.
They stumbled along the way as Ojha (1-10) and Ashwin (2-31) dismissed Alastair Cook (1), Jonathan Trott (3) and Kevin Pietersen (0). However, Nick Compton's nine not out and Ian Bell's unbeaten 28 got England home in 14.1 overs.
India started on 239 for nine in the presence of a measly crowd, most prominent among which were the Barmy Army. It wasn’t a matter of survival, but delaying the inevitable, something Ashwin had done very well on the fourth evening.
It turned out to be a matter of only 10 balls, as Ojha (3) was bowled as a James Anderson kissed the top of his off-stump. Ashwin was left stranded at 91 not out, off 157 balls, including 15 fours.
Anderson finished with three for 38, while Finn returned figures of three for 45. Graeme Swinn took two for 70 and Monty Panesar one for 75, as a second superb bowling performance in the match meant India had left a target of only 41 runs. They were bowled out for 247 runs in their second innings, of which 207 runs accounted for the lead England had induced from the first innings.
It was a very small target but the visitors made a meal of it. Ojha and Ashwin opened the bowling and took three wickets in a canter, dismissing Cook, Trott and Pietersen (0). England were reeling at eight for three, with the dressing room nerves frayed, but Compton and Bell saw them home without any further trouble.
Select quotes from the fifth day:
Alastair Cook, on his team’s massive win: "The bowlers bowled superbly to get India out for a low total on the first day. It has been the big difference, because our bowlers have bowled with more control. Steve Finn had a very good game, without much match practice, and it speaks of the bowlers’ fitness that they are able to deliver at such a level.
"When we came to India, the main thing for our batsmen was to get starts and make it count. It is tough getting starts here, and therefore you need to play for long. Kevin played a great innings in Mumbai but not many others can play similarly. So we need to accumulate and that has been the plan."
On whether England expected to win the series, Cook said: "If someone offers me a draw in the next game right now, I will take it. But you cannot go into a Test match thinking like that. We will move on from this win and concentrate on that game, we will not be complacent."
MS Dhoni on his team’s humiliating loss: "Our batsmen need to score more runs and score them consistently. We haven’t put 400 runs on the board for long now and that is because the batsmen are not showing enough patience. You cannot blame the bowlers for this loss.
"The coach cannot be blamed either. Duncan Fletcher has good technical points but once you go on the field, it is about what the players can do themselves. Surely we need to change around things and we will make sure that happens. It might not be too visible on the outside but if you were in the dressing room, you would surely know about it."
On whether he was still the right man to lead India, Dhoni said: "That is a decision for the BCCI, selectors and administrators to make. I can easily step aside and be a part of the side. But it is very easy to lead in good times. And therefore I just cannot run away from my responsibility of leading the side in these tough times."
© Cricket World 2012
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