England humiliates India

England's Chris Woakes celebrates after taking the wicket of India's Murali Vijay, lbw for 18, on the third day of the fourth test match of their five match series at Old Trafford cricket ground, in Manchester, England, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

England's Chris Woakes celebrates after taking the wicket of India's Murali Vijay, lbw for 18, on the third day of the fourth test match of their five match series at Old Trafford cricket ground, in Manchester, England, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)   | Photo Credit: Jon Super

Anderson’s swing and Ali’s spin leave Indians gasping; Broad hurt

Hurricane Bertha sweeping across the Atlantic Ocean is expected to pound England on Sunday, according to meteorological experts.

If ever there is a cricketing equivalent of the after-effects of a storm, India offered that ghastly spectacle at Old Trafford here on Saturday and lost the fourth Test by an innings and 54 runs.

An inept display with the bat hastened the humiliation on the third day itself. After Alastair Cook’s men secured a 215-run lead thanks to a first innings score of 367, the visitors dished out a humiliating second innings that ended with Chris Jordan castling Pankaj Singh.

India was bundled out for 161 and the series is seemingly moving towards England’s grasp at 2-1 though the fifth and final Test will commence at London’s Oval on August 15.

Stepping in for its second tenure at the crease, India’s lone consolation was the absence of Stuart Broad. The England speedster had suffered an injury earlier from a Varun Aaron bouncer.

In the end, it didn’t matter. Such was the scale of India’s collapse.

When the innings began, Murali Vijay struck three fours as Cook swapped Chris Woakes and Jordan.

Just as India breathed easy, Woakes nipped one back into Vijay’s pads. The opener’s exit left M.S. Dhoni’s men queasy at tea (33 for one).

The last session made it worse as in a span of 29 balls, the next five wickets fell for just 13 runs. Anderson’s swing, Moeen Ali’s spin and tentative batsmen left India gasping.

Anderson pitched one that climbed past Gambhir’s rib-cage and in line with the leg-stump and the southpaw with his up-on-toes trigger movement, feathered a snick off his glove! India was 53 for two and the alarm bells never stopped.

Next ball, Cheteshwar Pujara stretched forward, Ali beat his bat, ruffled the pads and though it seemed that the ball was headed beyond leg-stump, the off-spinner’s vociferous appeal found approval from umpire Rod Tucker.

Ali stayed in the spotlight and soon he caught and bowled Ajinkya Rahane.

India’s retreating men never stopped as Anderson exploited Virat Kohli’s recurrent weakness around the off-stump and Ali nailed a jittery Ravindra Jadeja.

India plunged the depths (66 for six) and though Dhoni and R. Ashwin (46 n.o.) played positively, they were just dying embers.

When the Indian skipper tried to loft Ali and found a flying Gary Ballance at short mid-wicket and Ali the fielder left Bhuvneshwar stranded, India was down for the count notwithstanding Ashwin’s assured batting that delayed the inevitable.

Earlier, with the skies staying clear in the morning, England resumed at 237 for six and found sunshine through the bats of Joe Root (77) and Jos Buttler (70). The duo added 134 runs for the seventh wicket.

The steady enforcement of pressure was not seen as Root got fours in clusters and when Bhuvneshwar grazed Buttler’s edge (on 34), a diving Kohli dropped the sharp chance to his left at gully.

Wrong strategy

Rather than pitch the ball up and allow it to swing, the fast bowlers pitched it short (63 per cent of their deliveries) against a well-set duo. Buttler gladly pulled and he had another lucky break on 43. He attempted a hard-run two. Aaron’s throw was fast but Dhoni failed to gather and fluffed the run-out.

Root meanwhile drove Aaron on either side, Buttler picked his spots on the off-side and India drifted until Pankaj got his maiden Test wicket, that too after bowling 415 balls since his debut at Southampton. The delivery strayed down the leg, Root airily flicked, Dhoni held and Pankaj found belated joy.

He got another scalp through a slower delivery that foxed Buttler.

In the afternoon, there was a splash of testosterone as Aaron bounced Broad twice and watched two searing sixes. The speedster wouldn’t go easy and when he cranked it up towards Broad’s nose, the ball sneaked between the helmet and its grill to bruise the batsman’s nasal bridge.

Blood dripped and a groggy Broad left the field and when the Jadeja-Anderson interlude ended with the left-arm spinner trapping his adversary, England had a sizeable lead to leave India on the mat.

Tragically, Dhoni’s men refused to get up and fight.

India — 1st innings: 152 in 46.4 overs.

England — 1st innings: Alastair Cook c Pankaj b Aaron 17 (42b, 2x4), Sam Robson b Bhuvneshwar 6 (24b, 1x4), Gary Ballance lbw b Aaron 37 (87b, 6x4), Ian Bell c Dhoni b Bhuvneshwar 58 (82b, 8x4, 1x6), Chris Jordan c Aaron b Bhuvneshar 13 (22b, 3x4), Joe Root c Dhoni b Pankaj 77 (161b, 7x4), Moeen Ali b Aaron 13 (27b, 2x4), Jos Buttler c Pujara b Pankaj 70 (130b, 10x4), Chris Woakes (not out) 26 (39b, 3x4), Stuart Broad retired hurt 12 (6b, 2x6), James Anderson lbw b Jadeja 9 (19b, 1x4); Extras (b-5, lb-12, nb-6, w-6): 29; Total (in 105.3 overs): 367.

Fall of wickets: 1-21 (Robson), 2-36 (Cook), 3-113 (Ballance), 4-136 (Jordan), 5-140 (Bell), 6-170 (Ali), 7-304 (Root), 8-325 (Buttler), 9-367 (Anderson).

India bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 24-7-75-3, Pankaj Singh 28-5-113-2, Varun Aaron 26-4-97-3, R. Ashwin 14-1-29-0, Ravindra Jadeja 13.3-1-36-1.

India — 2nd innings: Murali Vijay lbw b Woakes 18 (36b, 3x4), Gautam Gambhir (batting) 12 (41b, 2x4), Cheteshwar Pujara (batting) 3 (13b); Total (for one wkt. in 15 overs): 33.

Fall of wicket: 1-26 (Vijay).

England bowling: James Anderson 4-2-4-0, Chris Woakes 6-2-13-1, Chris Jordan 4-1-12-0, Moeen Ali 1-0-4-0.

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