Jos Buttler glosses over England's top-order chaos to build imposing lead
By the end of a pulsating third day at the Ageas Bowl, England had done just enough to be considered slender favourites
6pm: Well, we've had a game, haven't we? And a series, one in which India can perhaps feel unlucky to be 3-1 behind. The No. 1 Test side had chances to win at Edgbaston and here in Southampton, having pulled off a brilliant victory at Trent Bridge, but their search for a major series triumph overseas goes on; England remain unbeaten at home since 2014, and remain a curate's egg of a team, good and bad in equal parts. They've overcome their limitations admirably over the last four weeks, but will surely face one more stiff examination at The Oval, where India will be seeking a consolation win. From us, for now, that's your lot. Miller's report will be in soon, and our crack team at the ground will be churning out news and analysis over the coming hours. Thanks for your contributions, we'll rumble again in a few days' time... Bye!
5.40pm: Time for the post-match presentations, starting with India captain Virat Kohli: [50-50 chasing 245?] "Indeed, I thought England played really well to give us that target, seeing how the pitch was and the ball was spinning, it was challenging for us. We thought we were in with a chance last night but we didn't get the start we wanted, they were relentless with the ball and applied pressure throughout. Credit to them, they bowled well and we couldn't get enough. [Stand with Rahane] Mindset was one ball at a time, me and Jinks wanted to put on a partnership. Usually you're in the chase with a partnership but they made early inroads and we knew a couple of wickets would put pressure on us. We enjoyed it out there, but they pulled it back, that's the beauty of Test cricket. There's a lot of 'what ifs', calls that could have gone our way. We could have got maybe a larger lead, Pujara was outstanding to get us ahead. There were many factors, but not many negatives, England played better than us and deserved the win. We need to take the positives into the next Test match. [England lower order] I think it's great to have guys who strike the ball well in those positions, you can get a partnership together and hurt the opposition. They are fearless and have skills, they were braver than us in tough positions. Runs from the lower order were significant, I congratulate Sam Curran, he's been a fine cricketer. Apart from Lord's I don't think we have been outplayed, it's been enjoyable, teams going at each other with good quality. We'll go to the Oval and come out with the same intensity."
England captain Joe Root: [Curran performance] "Not just in this game, but throughout the series, for a young guy to have that influence on three games is outstanding. [Enjoy winning close Tests?] More enjoyable now than when it's going on . Credit to the boys, really up against it on the first morning, couldn't be more proud of the group. [Kohli-Rahane stand?] For the seamers it was about hitting the surface as hard as possible, being as aggressive as possible, be defensive with the fields and know that one ball could turn it around. We trusted our process and that was exceptional, if we can harness that and take it forward it will stand us in good stead. [Moeen?] A bit of time away from the environment, going to the IPL, performing well for Worcester, must give you confidence. Best he's bowled in an England shirt, testament to his strength of character and the strength in the squad."
Moeen Ali is Man of the Match: "Thanks, great to be back, missed Test cricket a lot. Needed a bit of a break, great to come back and contribute to winning. [Appreciate the game more?] To appreciate everything in general, played so much in the last few years I needed to go back to county cricket and really enjoy it. Watching the guys at home I really missed it. [Bowling improved?] I've backed myself for a while, took a lot of confidence from bowling in county cricket, working with Saqlain. [Move to No3?] Asked where I wanted to bat and I said three, I enjoyed it but ideally would have made a few more. I feel like I could tighten up a bit, we'll see, try not to think about it too much."
5.25pm: There'll be no decider at The Oval, no comeback to emulate Bradman. England win by 60 runs and take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series. Lord's aside, India have been hugely competitive, but they couldn't quite force it their way when they needed to in Southampton, despite having England 86-6 in the first innings and then being 140-2 in reply to 246. Cheteshwar Pujara, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ajinkya Rahane and, of course, Virat Kohli all contributed superb individual performances, but England's collective mettle saw them through in the end. Nine wickets in the match Moeen Ali was the standout - particularly given the ineffectiveness of R Ashwin - and in the end a 200-plus target proved just too much. But, during that middle session, they raised hopes of an Adelaide for the 2010s.
Vikram: "As desperate fans we keep thinking 'If not for the luck, England would have lost the series by the third test, lost four tosses, lost the second match to the rain hit pitch, lost 4th match to the rough patch provided by Ishant and not but not the least one wrong selection by the selection committee to select Ashwin without knowing if he is completely fit to play - The major difference b/w both the teams-a fit spinner'. Well fought matches towards the end. Great entertainment."
kris: "One significant reason for England's victory is that their lower order knows how to contribute decently to the scoreboard. It's time for Hardik to really focus on the Test batting??" Certainly England's advantage at Nos. 6-9 has been significant
Umar Shaikh: "No excuses and all credit due to England. But one can not help but consider how India have been unlucky 4 out of 4 times with the toss and still have managed to compete overseas despite starting behind. Time to rethink the concept of toss for touring teams?" It has been floated recently... But India should certainly get credit for the way they've fought here, in contrast to 2011 and 2014
Curran trundles in and, just as he's about to deliver, Ashwin pulls away... Not sure the bowler appreciated that
He immediately signals to the dressing room, looks like he might have hurt the groin that was troubling him during the Trent Bridge Test. Out comes the physio, Ashwin drops his trousers... But he's going to carry on. Can't have a runner in international cricket these days, of course
"I was really really hoping for a nail-biter! :(" Well, Liam... It's not quite over yet
England have a short leg in
And Root chucks the ball to Sam Curran to try and finish things off