Ind vs Eng, 4th Test, 3rd day - As It Happened

All the colour and analyses from day three of the final Test of the series

Alan Gardner
Alan Gardner
Day two of our live report of the fourth India-England Test from Ahmedabad. You can find our traditional ball-by-ball commentary here
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3.47pm: Ashwin completes 30th five-for, India are WTC finalists

India have wrapped up a convincing innings victory to seal a 3-1 series result and a spot in the World Test Championship final, after England collapsed against spin for the final time on tour. Although Washington Sundar was left high and dry four runs short of a maiden Test hundred, Axar Patel hounded the visitors for his fourth five-for of an immensely impressive debut series to help confirm the inevitable midway through the evening session on day three. Read the full report here.

3.40pm: Lawrence reaches fifty

A second Test fifty for Dan Lawrence, who is one of perhaps only two England batsman to come out of this tour of Asia with his credentials enhanced, alongside Joe Root. He struggled in the Chennai Tests, looking ill-suited to the No. 3 role that he has only rarely filled at domestic level, but with the pressure off at No. 7 he has been positive and - generally - calm in this Test.
He's England's top-scorer in the match, and Sampath Bandarupalli tells me that he's also the only Englishman to make a second-innings half-century in the series.
Jack Leach survived on review a couple of overs ago, but has now been caught well at slip by Ajinkya Rahane, and India are a wicket away from reaching the inaugural WTC final.

3.10pm: Patel five-for!

Axar Patel's storming debut series continues with a fourth five-wicket haul in three Tests! Bess doesn't last long, feathering a big swipe through to Pant, meaning Patel now has 27 at 10.07. That dismissal also means that 102 wickets have fallen to spinners in the series - the third-highest of all time in Tests. Two more and India are going to the WTC final, baby!

3.02pm: Jinxed

That's how to take wickets, boys... Having bobbed along nicely for a bit, Foakes suddenly pokes at one from Patel and diverts a catch to slip. Ajinkya Rahane didn't look too confident that he had caught it, diving across to his left, and the soft signal from the umpires was 'not out'. But replays showed him scooping it up safely, and that's the stand broken. Seems a long, long time ago (the first innings in Chennai, in fact) that England last managed a fifty partnership.

3pm: End game

Some jiggery pokery going on, Ashwin replacing Sundar after one over, bowling two and then deciding he wants a change of ends - so Sundar gets another over, before then being switched for Patel. Still plenty for the spinners to work with out there, even though the ball is 40-plus overs old - good bounce in particular, with Lawrence's splice and gloves wearing a few. But these two are ticking along quite nicely for England, bringing the deficit down towards 50.

2.40pm: Breathe

Washington Sundar is on for a bowl after tea, and who wouldn't want to see him bag a few cheap wickets to make up for that missed hundred? Well, apart from the England team, coaches, supporters, etc. You sense the tourists know the jig is almost up, but there are still individual points to be made for the likes of Dan Lawrence, Ben Foakes and Dom Bess, all of whom could be out of the XI come England's next Test, against New Zealand in June.

2.10pm: Tea

England 205 and 91 for 6 (Lawrence 19*, Foakes 6*) trail India 365 (Pant 101, Sundar 96*, Stokes 4-89) by 69 runs
India rounded up six wickets in the session between lunch and tea to close in on victory and a place in the World Test Championship final. R Ashwin and Axar Patel shared them evenly, as England's struggles against spin seemed set to bring a premature end to the fourth Test.
Trailing by 160 on first innings, England's openers walked out having negotiated a three-over spell before the break. But it took barely any time for India to start making inroads as Ashwin struck with his fourth and fifth balls - Zak Crawley was taken at slip by one that went straight on, then Jonny Bairstow turned to leg slip to collect a golden duck.
Dom Sibley was a little unfortunate, caught via a rebound from short leg on the sweep, to give Patel his first, before Ben Stokes presented another simple catch to leg slip. After a brief period of calm, Ollie Pope was stumped down the leg side by Rishabh Pant, and Joe Root then fell lbw to Ashwin in the following over.
England limped to tea with Dan Lawrence and Ben Foakes at the crease, but facing a battle to take the game into a fourth day, never mind make India bat again.

2pm: Commemorative hats off

India aren't quite celebrating victory yet, but there's a demob mood in the Star commentary box, where Sunil Gavaskar is having a jolly nice Test debut 50th anniversary (if that's a thing). Sunny would doubtless have plenty to say about English batting techniques, but thankfully everyone seems more interested in cake...

1.40pm: Bang-bang! India closing in

We did have a period of quiet, though Ollie Pope looked skittish throughout and eventually becomes a third wicket for Patel. Another fine bit of work behind the stumps from Rishabh Pant, who is another genuine contender for Man of the Series. He managed to cling on as the ball practically hit him in the collar bone, then broke the bails before it squirmed out of his grasp - his fifth stumping in four Tests. And then Ashwin ices the cake, trapping Root bang in front on the back foot, straightforward decision for Nitin Menon (despite a confident review from Root).
And with that wicket, Ashwin joins the great SF Barnes as the only men to twice take more than 30 wickets in a series of four matches or fewer. Decent company (though Barnes had a far better moustache).

1.15pm: Last orders?

Has it only been an hour since lunch? England take drinks on 46 for 4, Root the only batsman in double-figures. Still 115 more needed to make India bat again. Even the barman in the last-chance saloon would be looking at his watch and thinking about calling time.

1.05pm: Vote early, vote often

12.55pm: The band plays on...

England sinking fast, Ben Stokes scooping tamely around the corner - a catch for the lurking Virat Kohli. How's that WTC final spot looking now, eh, Virat? Root, much as he has done throughout England's Test winter, stands alone on the poop deck, but this time he's belting out a mournful tune. At least if they lose by an innings, no one can catch him here.

12.40pm: When it rains, it pours

Third wicket for India, Axar Patel strikes - although it's a tad unlucky for Dom Sibley, who pounds a sweep into the knee of Shubman Gill at short leg, only for it to loop up to the wicketkeeper for a simple catch! We've seen that sort of dismissal a few times during recent Tests - Dasun Shanaka, I think, actually hit one into Bairstow himself in Galle - but it doesn't change what goes in the scorebook. Chances of India having to bat again receding by the minute.

12.35pm: It's canard to bat out there...

With 31 ducks and counting, this has been the most quack-happy four-match series in Test history, reports my colleague Sampath Bandarupalli. Bairstow has made three of them in four innings, extending his grim run against India to 0, 6, 0, 0, 18, 0, 0, 28, 0. And with India's spinners circling wounded prey, there's every possibility we could have a three-day finish here...

12.18pm: Back to it the drawing board

England might have sent off for some new moves, but they haven't arrived yet! Fourth ball from Ashwin and Crawley nicks to slip, bringing out Jonny Bairstow... who steers obligingly to leg slip for a golden duck! Ashwin is amongst 'em, though Joe Root sees off the hat-trick ball without drama. England in serious danger of being taken out for a meal with Mr and Mrs Pain, here.

12.15pm: Back to it

Right, what have England got in their locker here, then? Cracking innings from Rishabh Pant and, to a lesser degree, Washington Sundar shifted the paradigm of this Test... But have the English batsman got any new, powerful moves to show off? Given they've only once passed 200 in their last six innings, India might, in the words of Vince Noir, suggest their moves "are like being caressed with a natural yoghurt". It'll take a mighty boosh to set India a target, but that'll be the aim as Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley head out after lunch. R Ashwin is straight on from the Reliance End to greet them.

11.30am: Lunch

England 205 and 6 for 0 (Crawley 5*, Sibley 1*) trail India 365 (Pant 101, Sundar 96*, Stokes 4-89) by 159 runs
Washington Sundar was left agonisingly short of a maiden Test hundred but his unbeaten 96 helped India to carve out a dominant position in the fourth Test. Although they eventually lost their last three wickets without adding to the score, by that stage their first-innings lead over England had swelled to 160.
The first 90 minutes of play had been conspicuously lacking in drama, as Sundar and Axar Patel calmly extended their eighth-wicket stand to 106. Both made Test-best scores against a toiling England attack but, with Sundar's milestone almost in touching distance, the innings suddenly imploded.
It took a run-out to break the partnership, as Patel impetuously left his crease for a non-existent single to mid-on. His dive for the crease was in vain, and both players averted their eyes - perhaps sensing what might be to come. Ben Stokes immediately dispatched Ishant Sharma lbw and then three balls later castled Mohammed Siraj, leaving Sundar waiting for his moment despite the applause for a fine innings that helped give India control of the Test.

11.20am: Washington fails to cross the Delaware (or something)

Karthik Krishnaswamy writes: He was stranded on 85 in the first Test in Chennai, and now he's stranded on 96. Imagine being Washington Sundar. He has the batting talent to make Test hundreds, clearly, and he'll surely get one sooner rather than later if he gets a run of games. But here's the thing: will he? He got his chance because of a freakish injury crisis, and he's grabbed it brilliantly, but when Ravindra Jadeja and Hanuma Vihari return, where will he fit in India's XI? He's currently somewhere between those two: he has the skill and temperament to be a top-six batsman who bowls a bit of offspin, and his bowling has the potential for him to one day become a genuine allrounder. And he's still only 21. The possibilities are endless, and he'll get his chance again at some point, but he might have to wait a while. This is the last Test of this season, and after this is a long stretch of Test cricket in English conditions.

11.07am: Sundar stranded

Siraj can't see out the over, never mind accompany Sundar to a richly deserved maiden hundred! Stokes pings his off stump third ball, leaving India's 21-year-old No. 8 stuck at the other end on 96 not out. A mighty fine knock from Sundar, and it has put India well on top in this Test, despite the last three wickets falling for spit... but oh for four more runs!

11.05am: Nine down!

Two in two balls, as Stokes traps Ishant with the plumbest of plumb lbws! Sundar is looking on from the non-striker's end now, as Siraj heads out at No. 11. Can he hang on to get his mate over the line, as he did for Ashwin in Chennai?

11.02am: Breakthrough

Sundar hangs his head, Patel looks crestfallen, and England have finally found a way to get a wicket this morning! Clipped to mid-on and Patel went haring down only to realise his partner wasn't moving... it's tight, but Root did a deft job at collecting the throw and brushing off the bails in one movement. The partnership was ultimately worth 106 - only the third time that both the seventh and the eighth wicket have added 100 in Tests, notes stats guru Gaurav Sundararaman - but Patel's departure means Sundar, on 96, needs one of Ishant Sharma or Mohammed Siraj to stick around for a bit.

10.45am: Sundar into the 90s

It's been a hugely composed innings from Washington Sundar, who is closing in on a maiden Test hundred in only his fourth match. From a wobbly position at 146 for 6, India have piled on more than 200 runs for the loss of one wicket and, given England's form over the last three Tests, might even be beginning to think they'll only have to bat once here...

10.30am: Daily grind

This partnership has gone from minor irritance, certainly in the wake of being merked by Rishabh Pant, to major roadblock for England. India's eighth-wicket has added more than 80 runs, the lead heading well beyond the manageable, never mind how well the pitch plays. Sundar continues to look the part as a batsman, equaling his Test best of 85 from earlier in the series, while Patel has quintupled his previous highest score of 7. Root finally brought himself on to bowl before the drinks break, but his malfunctioning four-man attack is being made to look even more of a selection error with every passing over.
I'll presume Jarrod actually means Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, which is about 300 miles from Durham - but yep, Patel has Champo runs under his belt, top-scoring in an innings win during a county stint in 2018 (he even managed to get a bowl and take a few wickets). Paul Collingwood is doubtless watching "wor canny lad" with pride from the England dressing room.

10.05am: A trip to the Leftorium

Just a couple of overs for Bess before he gets hooked, Joe Root seeking more control from his SLA Jack Leach... who is promptly whacked for two fours by Patel, a decent batsman who has a first-class hundred. Root's problem here is that, while Leach has had a good series and is clearly the superior spinner, he averages 54.72 against left-hand batsmen in Tests, compared to 24.35 against righties. Bess averages 29.25 against southpaws (36.33 against right) - but can barely be trusted to land it right now.
So there's your answer, boss.

9.45am: Sundar rising

England have started off with James Anderson and Dom Bess - a move perhaps designed to try and give their offspinner some confidence, with two left-hand bats at the crease in the shape of Washington Sundar and Axar Patel. But while Anderson started with back-to-back maidens, Bess conceded three boundaries in his first eight balls. A straight six from Sundar took India's lead into three figures, before he threaded the gap through cover with an even-better shot.
The pitch, meanwhile, looks to be holding together nicely; tidy little footmarks, few obvious signs of disintegration and it's playing well enough for the Nos. 8 and 9. Whether that'll be the case when England come to bat remains to be seen.

9.35am: Should've Seen It Coming Dept

More Pant bantz. Fast bowlers beware...

9.15am: Pant-emonium

Well, that was a lot of fun, wasn't it? Unless you're an England bowler, perhaps. Rishabh Pant turned the game on its head with an extraordinary innings on day two, and he has put India in control of the Test. It's not over yet, of course, but England have to get their heads back on if it's not to be the defining contribution. Given their recent batting efforts, a 100-run deficit will loom large... but if we've learnt anything from India's pocket rocket wicketkeeper, it's that moments are there to be seized. Let's go.

Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick