India surrender in under three days at Old Trafford
Manchester: A listless India capitulated to a humiliating innings and 54 runs defeat in the fourth cricket Test against England with a horrendous batting display that allowed the hosts to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.
It was an abject surrender by the Indian batsmen as they were skittled out for a paltry 161 in 43 overs after conceding a 215-run lead to England, who wrapped the match within three days.
It was again off-spinner Moeen Ali (4-39), who plotted India`s downfall with the visitors losing nine wickets in the final session of play of the third day`s play.
Moeen, with 19 wickets in the series so far, is just two wickets behind James Anderson (21), who is the leading wicket-taker of the series so far.
Cheteshwar Pujara (17), Ajinkya Rahane (1), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (27) and Ravindra Jadeja (4) were Moeen`s victims as the off-spinner made the batsmen dance to his tunes.
Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin (48 not out) though did try to spill over the game to the fourth day after stitching a 39-run seventh-wicket partnership but the duo could only delay the inevitable.
Moeen apart, the bowlers came up with another fine display even in the absence of Stuart Broad, who was out injured after getting hit on his nose while batting in the England innings.
Anderson and Chris Jordan picked up two wickets each as Chris Woakes, who shared the new ball with Anderson, started the wickettaking after sending Murali Vijay (18) trapped LBW before the tea break.
The hosts had managed to score 367 in their only innings, which came in reply to India`s first innings score of 152 as nearly two session so play was lost due to rain interruptions on Friday.
After the 266-run defeat in Southampton, the visitors have failed to pick up the pieces and now look like a side in complete trouble. Their only win coming at Lord`s in the second game.
The two teams will now travel to London for the final match at the Oval starting August 15 with the visitors only having a chance to level the series.
The Indian collapse at Old Trafford came after tea when India were still adrift by 82 runs and hoping to bat out the day without too many wickets down as the weather forecast for the next two days wasn't a healthy one.
Gautam Gambhir (18) and Pujara were at the crease hoping for a strong fight-back as they had shown caution before the tea-break.
But the slide began in the sixth over after the break - 21st of the innings - as Gambhir needlessly played at short-ball aimed at his body by Anderson. In doing so he gloved it to keeper Jos Buttler, who didn't make any mistakes.
A ball later, Ali had Pujara trapped LBW although replays showed that the ball was turning enough to miss the leg-stump, but umpire Rod Tucker thought otherwise.
India were already in a precarious position when two overs later - in the 24th - Rahane played a needless attacking stroke to Ali and offered a simple return catch that was duly gobbled up.
Five balls later, Anderson set up Virat Kohli (7) for what is now becoming a habitual dismissal outside the off-stump for the star batsman.
Tottering at 61/5 it became worse for the visitors when Jadeja simply failed to judge the pulse of the game and didn't curb his attacking instinct to be caught at slip. India had lost 5 wickets for 13 runs off 29 balls in a maddening session of only 25 minutes.
This careless attitude was visible from Dhoni too, who departed in a bid to attack Ali as well, as it was another needless shot though caught well at midwicket by Gary Ballance.
Continuing in the same vein, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (10) was soon run-out as any hopes of India surviving the day started disappearing quickly. Jordan then wrapped up the innings taking Varun Aaron (9) and Pankaj Singh (0) off successive balls in the 43rd.
Pankaj though has his moment of the day after the medium-pacer got his first Test wicket in the form of Joe Root after 69.2 overs in the morning session and soon added a second to his list after scalping Buttler.
But the Man of the Match was Broad for his 6-25 in the first innings which set the tone for England's fine performance in the game.