England v India, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 3rd day August 17, 2014

India befuddled as England complete humiliation


England 486 (Root 149, Cook 79, Ballance 64) beat India 148 (Dhoni 82, Woakes 3-30) and 94 (Jordan 4-18) by an innings and 244 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Kimber: India utterly humiliated

India might have been transported to another world, a world so unfamiliar that their senses were befuddled, their physical prowess lost, their lifetime's knowledge entirely inadequate. One by one their batsmen came and went as they underwent the third heaviest Test defeat in their history.

This is an Indian side built on immense wealth and hubris, which has become used to a feeling of power, which has come to view its early history as an aberration, yet they were poverty stricken against an England side once again relishing perfect swing and seam bowling conditions.

India batted as if they had no sense of time and place, but for the record on August 17, 2014, in south London, they foundered to 94 all out in only 29.2 overs. Against the same England side that was beaten by Sri Lanka in a two-Test series in May, India have insisted on five Tests crammed into six weeks and once the series turned they had no respite.

Less than four weeks ago, India secured an historic win at Lord's to go 1-0 up in the Investec series. They have since been trounced three times: by 266 runs at the Ageas Bowl, by an innings and 54 on a relatively quick pitch at Old Trafford, and now by an innings and 244 runs.

England's 3-1 series win was secured in a quite remarkable transformation. When it was indicated that Alastair Cook was a captain under pressure, it was clear that the media meant MS Dhoni; when the coaching influence of Peter Moores was questioned, obviously what should have been written was Duncan Fletcher. "We were laughing about it," Cook said. "Everything we planned went perfectly."

Not since 1977 have India been dismissed for less than 200 five times in succession. Since they made 178 in the second innings in Southampton, they have been dismantled for 152, 161, 148 and, finally, for 94 by an England attack that, as well it has bowled, must have viewed the disintegration as barely credible.

There were so many images that India will not want to recall, but their misery was encapsulated in the last act of the morning session when Gautam Gambhir, his Test career perhaps at an end, jogged off the outfield at The Oval in pouring rain seconds after pointlessly running himself out.

Gambhir, sent back by Cheteshwar Pujara after envisaging a suicidal single to short midwicket, was beaten by Chris Woakes' direct hit, the last act in a short pre-lunch session of 6.1 overs which also saw India lose M Vijay, their staunchest batsman in the series, lbw to a lavish inswinger from James Anderson.

The rain relented to allow a restart at 2.30pm; by 4.30pm all that was left was the rigmarole of a presentation ceremony - a ceremony in which India had to watch Anderson, their bête noire, collect the Man of the Series award. India now have a week to regroup, or merely to measure out their life with coffee spoons as TS Eliot had it, before an ODI series in which they will still regard themselves as favourites, although such is their large turnover between Test and ODI squads that about half the squad are heading home.

In good times, Pujara and Virat Kohli have the talent and patience to bat for days. At The Oval, they could have fallen to virtually any ball. Pujara's hands were strikingly low for such conditions to combat the rising ball; Kohli has looked fallible outside off stump throughout the series, a series in which India's gilded young batsman has made 134 runs at 13.4. He has the talent to conquer English conditions, but this failure will sit heavily on him.

For six overs, Pujara and Kohli resisted, their stand of 21 the highest of the innings. Then Pujara pushed gravely forward at an outswinger, almost as if bowed in prayer, and edged to the keeper. Surprisingly, considering the mayhem that followed, it was Anderson's last wicket, leaving him three behind Ian Botham's England record of 383 Test wickets and no Test to make up the shortfall until the Caribbean next April.

Broad and Anderson bowled beautifully, Broad picking up Ajinkya Rahane five overs later. Gary Ballance's brilliant diving catch at third slip, springing to his left to rescue a chance that might easily have fallen short, exemplified another gulf between the sides: India's close catching had become increasingly atrocious.

That India's candle was burning as if in pure oxygen was apparent when Dhoni followed in the next over, a push off his hip against a back-of-a-length delivery from Chris Woakes that was snaffled by Sam Robson at short leg. Cook, who has become more prone to attacking fields as England's superiority has become apparent, must now reflect that they are rather fun.

And so, with India's minds mangled, it went on. Of their last five wickets, four fell to Chris Jordan, the best of them his first as Kohli edged a fullish outswinger to Cook at first slip. Would such a celebrated player request a period in county cricket to address his failings?

Jordan followed up with two wickets in an over. There was a rebound catch for Ian Bell, knocked on by Ballance, to dismiss R Ashwin; a wanton drive by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, India's Man of the Series, impressive at times with bat and ball, but ultimately brought to his knees.

Moeen Ali has bowled just one over in this Test, but India invited him to the party, firstly courtesy of Varun Aaron's run out attempting a non-existent second run (the throw did not even have to hit direct from long leg) and, finally, a simple catch at silly point at Ishant jabbed blindly at a short one.

England's lap of honour was sedate, a Sunday stroll - an appropriate pace because that is what their victory had been.

India's embarrassment began with the ball as England racked up 101 runs in 11.3 overs to extend their first-innings lead to 338. Root, who had overnighted on 92, finished unbeaten on 149 from only 163 balls, his last 100 runs taking only 70 balls, evidence of how keenly he had wrested the initiative on Saturday evening.

Ishant bowled him on 110 only for replays to show he had overstepped; a succession of no balls on the second day by Ishant passed unnoticed. It is a rum system that only checks no balls when somebody takes a wicket, a nonsensical policy that has seeped into international cricket without any proper public discourse.

Broad, in his last Test appearance as England's cricketing Goth, protected his black eyes and broken nose with a new helmet. India's predictable short-ball strategy had about as much intensity as a school ballet practice. Aaron, whose bouncer hit Broad at Old Trafford, had the field for the short ball, but not the inclination. When Ishant fired in bouncers, they took off around 80mph.

Broad, even more gung ho than normal, struck 37 from 21 deliveries and when he was dismissed, gloving a short ball from Ishant, he should not have been as his bottom hand had been withdrawn from the bat. "This match could end today," someone said. You did not need a degree in psychology to predict that.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ramakanth on August 22, 2014, 18:20 GMT

    India should play 6 batsmen 1 keeper and 4 specialist bowlers. We dont need allrounders to win a test match.

  • Iraj on August 21, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    Team India should forget everything now. Past is past & work hard towards the future. Now its time for the ODI's where India could shine everywhere. The lessens learned from this test series would help them for the coming tour of Australia. Cheers & best of luck from SL.

  • Siddharth on August 20, 2014, 19:18 GMT

    A very poor performance by the indian team. 3 - 1 would have been more acceptable if they at least put up a good fight, India basically didn't compete at all in this test match and all matches since Southampton. I'm expecting a good recovery from the Indian team and I at least expect them to win the ODI series by a good margin.

  • John on August 20, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    @ Sajithkumar on (August 18, 2014, 9:47 GMT) Not at all. Yes there were some poor decisions that went against India but there were also some that went against England. The difference is that the decisions that went for England were costly because the batsmen went on to score a load of runs. In the last test there were several decisions that England would have got on Indian batsmen - I think Rahane and Kohli were 2 - but neither went on to score many runs whereas Bell and co did. Also Shastri said that BCCI's main issue with DRS (which let's face it was thee only reason it was not used) was the predicted path of the ball for LBWs so Bell's decision would not have been reversed. So yes the situation could have been different - just like it could have been different if MSD bowled first in the previous test. We'll never know. Facts are that Eng made the most of things that went there way and India did not

  • John on August 20, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    @thozar on (August 18, 2014, 17:19 GMT) It is reckoned that Fletcher laid many of the foundations which Flower then took on to take England (albeit briefly) to number 1. I'm pretty sure I read about another overseas coach who left his post or was relieved of his post and during his tenure I read that the Indian players practiced what they wanted to practice rather than what they needed to practice. I'm reading comms about their work ethic etc and players/coaches can have all the talent in the world but if the coach is unable to put across his methods and the players are unwilling to do what the coach asks of them then it's not going to get any better. Your comms re "Even the most optimistic England fan will agree that Eng had the rub of the green in India" (even if true) maybe sum up the probs with the attitude towards addressing the teams problems. If Fletcher is sacked then I'm sure you'll find other excuses for losing other than saying we're not good enough.

  • Harsh on August 20, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    One of the most important factors of England's gains and India's losses was the consolidation of advantages or comebacks.At Old Trafford and at the Oval India had come back at junctures in the 1st innings getting inroads into the English batting,like at Trent Bridge.Sadly it just could not hit the nails into the coffin.

    England were lifted by correct guidance at the technical and motivation level.With India it was the inverse with no former cricketers or coaches giving appropriate advice on adapting to the English conditions with the ball moving in the air.

    The series also proves the legitimacy of 5 test series and how 2 test or 3 test series can never give an accurate assesment of the team's strengths.India simply became burnt boats towards the end.The true strength of a team is assesed in how it improves it's game or domination of opponents towards the end like England.

    India's performances in defeats were more praiseworthy in 1979,1982,1990 and 1996 losing only the 1st test.

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2014, 10:05 GMT

    Are you sure India insisted on 5 tests?

  • Dummy4 on August 19, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    Indian team, Tigers in home, rats in abroad!

  • thishan on August 19, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    @fguy.. u do not watch test cricket coz u r country is performing well ;)... we all love test cricket coz test cricket creates real cricketers. not half blunders like ipl ppl..

  • thishan on August 19, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    @ fguy ... make 5 day test reduce to 3 days.. by MSD.. fguy.. do u feel happy and amazed by this dhoni statement....

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