India ease to seven-wicket win
England fought with plenty of heart, and India needed 21 overs before finally completing a seven-wicket victory, their fifth Test win in England and the first at Trent Bridge, to go 1-0 in the series
Dinesh Karthik hooks to fine leg but India had to negotiate a testing passage of play before winning by seven wickets to go one up in the three-match series
© Getty Images|
After all the excellent work done over the last four days, India needed only to complete the formalities on the final morning but they were made to work hard to polish off the remaining 63 runs. Led by a fiery spell from Chris Tremlett, England fought with plenty of heart, and India needed 21 overs before finally completing a seven-wicket victory, their fifth Test win in England and the first at Trent Bridge, to go 1-0 in the series.
Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik resumed the Indian innings at 10 for 0, and motored to 47 fairly comfortably. Karthik played a couple of handsome backfoot punches square on the off side, while Jaffer played his trademark effortless flicks. Both played and missed a few times off Ryan Sidebottom, but a ten-wicket win was on the cards when Tremlett struck - not once, but three times. England's only hope of gaining some brownie points was to take a few top-order wickets before the Oval Test, and Tremlett did that, nailing both openers with short balls that bounced more than the batsmen expected - Jaffer top-edged a pull to gully while Karthik nicked a beauty which bounced and seamed away.
Buoyed by those successes, Tremlett and James Anderson let rip at India's two most experienced batsmen. Both bowlers liberally dished out short-pitched deliveries, and then mixed it with pitched-up, awayswingers. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid played and missed a few times, before Tendulkar pushed at a short one off his hips straight to Alastair Cook at leg gully, who had been cleverly stationed for that stroke.
Dravid, though, patiently swayed out of the way of every short ball that came his way, and with a target of 73, victory was only a matter of time. The winning runs came when Tremlett bowled an inswinger that beat Sourav Ganguly and Matt Prior and raced down for four byes.
The victory means India have now won at least one Test in ten of their last 12 tours
, but have only won two of those series against a team other than Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. With the last Test at The Oval - a venue which has traditionally produced belters - India have an excellent opportunity to go on and get that rare overseas series victory. England, on the other hand, haven't lost a series at home
since the 2001 Ashes, which sets up the last game of this series quite splendidly.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo