CHENNAI, India, Dec 20, (AFP): Ravindra Jadeja’s career-best 7-28 spun India to a big win in the fifth Test on Tuesday as England dramatically collapsed, slumping to a 4-0 series loss that raised questions over Alastair Cook’s captaincy.
England slipped from 192-4 to 207 all out in the final session in Chennai as Jadeja’s left-arm spin wreaked havoc in the visitors’ second innings on day five.
The tourists, who rode on an 103-run opening stand between Cook and Keaton Jennings, lost six of their batsmen for 15 runs in the evening to capitulate against an inspired Indian attack.
“It wasn’t great viewing and it’s what can happen in this part of the world or in the pressure of a fifth-day Test match,” said a disappointed Cook.
“The momentum is very hard to stop when a side gets going like that with the crowd and everything. You need to play bloody well to withhold that pressure. We weren’t good enough to cope.
“I’m gutted for the lads, it would have been great to escape with a draw but ultimately we weren’t good enough,” he added.
Man of the match Karun Nair’s unbeaten 303 remained the game’s highlight.
He helped India post 759-7 on Monday — their record Test score — giving them a first-innings lead of 282.
“He is just a complete package. It is very difficult to find guys like that which have such character when it comes to batting and they understand the game so well at such a young age,” said skipper Virat Kohli of the 25-year-old Nair, who was playing in just his third Test.
Not only did India avenge their 2012 series loss to England at home, the hosts also won their first contest against Cook’s side since 2011.
India’s premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin surprisingly went wicketless in the second innings but ended as the series’ highest wicket-taker with 28 scalps, above Jadeja (26).
Kohli was the highest run-scorer with 655, including 235, his Test best, in Mumbai. He was named man of the series.
“It’s a complete performance from the time we have been put under pressure in the first game (a draw in Rajkot) to winning the next four Test matches,” Kohli told reporters.
“Coming from behind in all the four games. We lost four tosses including Rajkot and then winning three games out of that is satisfying for us,” he added.
However troubles mounted for Kohli’s opposite number Cook, whose side lost their fourth Test on the trot and their fifth in the last two months after a first-ever defeat to Bangladesh.
Cook, 31, brushed aside talk about his future as captain, saying the time is not right to make such a call.
“I’ve got to go away and decide whether I am the right man to take England forward,” he said.
“It’s the wrong time to make those decisions as energy is low and you can make foolish decisions in those times.”
The left-handed batsman, who got out to Jadeja six times in the series including in his final innings for 49, rejected suggestions his batting was affected by the captaincy issue.
“I haven’t been going out there thinking about my captaincy when I’m batting.
I haven’t been in as good form as I’d have liked,” said Cook, who accumulated 369 runs in five games.
England now head home for a Christmas break before returning for a limited-overs series. The first of three one-day internationals is on Jan 15 in Pune.