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AHMEDABAD, India, March 6, (AP): India routed England by an innings and 25 runs inside three days in the fourth and final Test on Saturday and booked a place in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand.
England, trailing by 160 runs, capitulated for 135 in the second innings against the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin (5-47) and Axar Patel (5-48) within two sessions on the third day to lose the series 3-1. “Well, we’re obviously happy to win the series, but there are always things to improve,” India captain Virat Kohli said.
“Now, we can accept and admit that we are in the WTC final. It did become a bit of distraction for us in New Zealand, but we took it one game at a time since.” Dan Lawrence (50) fought a grim battle to score a half century before Ashwin, who finished the series with 32 wickets, clean bowled him to clinch India’s 13th successive Test series win. India were bowled out for 365 before lunch and built a lead of 160 runs. No. 8 batsman Washington Sundar was left stranded on 96 not out after India lost the last three wickets within five balls after it resumed on 294-7.
“The last three games have been testing for us but credit to India, they’ve outplayed us,” England skipper Joe Root said. “We’ve got to improve individually and become a better side for this experience … and good luck to them in the final.”
Axar and Ashwin mesmerized England’s top order yet again with the new ball on a turning wicket. Ashwin began the England slide by claiming the wickets of Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow off successive deliveries in his first over. Crawley edged a simple catch to the slip and Bairstow got his third score of zero in the last four innings when he offered a tame catch in the leg slip off the next delivery. Root (30) also looked shaky against spinners before Ashwin – bowling round the wicket – had him lbw off a delivery which didn’t spin and caught the England captain off the back foot.
Dom Sibley was the only unlucky batsman to get dismissed when he swept hard against Patel as the ball ballooned to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant after striking hard on the knee of Shubman Gill fielding at short leg. Lawrence delayed the inevitable, hitting six boundaries off his 112-ball knock, before both Indian spinners wrapped up the game in the last session.
Earlier, Sundar missed out on a maiden test century but featured in yet another century partnership with Patel (43) before India lost three wickets in a cluster.
Ben Stokes got the last two wickets to finish with 4-89 and Patel was run out after adding 106 runs with Sundar. Sundar and Patel dominated England’s Dom Bess (0-71) and Jack Leach (2-89) with some exquisite shots as both lefthanders were hardly troubled by the spinners.
Jimmy Anderson also couldn’t run through the tail quickly but was the pick of the England bowlers with 3-44 off his 25 overs. Sundar, who had shared a 113-run stand with century-maker Pant on Friday, hit 10 fours and a six before he was left disappointed when Stokes clean bowled No. 11 Muhammed Siraj as India lost the last three wickets without a run.
Patel, who grabbed 11 wickets in the last test at the same venue in India’s 10-wicket win within two days, finished the game with yet another impressive haul of nine wickets in his hometown. India recovered well through Ashwin and Patel to clinch the series after losing the opening test at Chennai. The World Test Championship final is at Lord’s in June.