India thrash England, to meet New Zealand in WTC final
Ahmedabad: Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin once again made a mockery of an eternally confused English batting line-up as India cantered into the inaugural World Test Championship final with a resounding innings and 25 run victory on the third afternoon of the fourth and final Test here on Saturday.
All India needed was a draw to book a Lord’s date in June with Kane Williamson’s New Zealand but Patel (24-6-48-5), in company of Ashwin (22.5-4-47-5), literally blew England away in a session and half for a paltry 135 in 54.5 overs to complete a 3-1 rout, ensuring that the Anthony De Mello Trophy will stay at the Cricket Centre in Mumbai.
It was another two and half days finish but even the most partisan England experts like their former skipper Michael Vaughan have admitted that the 22-yard strip had almost nothing to do with their side’s abject surrender.
A case in point could be India’s first innings score of 365 and a lead of 160 on the same track where England could cumulatively manage only 340 runs across two innings.
Atrocious application and unbelievably poor mindset while playing spinners cost the Englishmen dearly during the last three Tests.
This was one Test match where Indians, even before a ball being bowled, created an illusion of a turning track. It was a ploy of playing with the minds of a team that was already in a negative zone.
There wasn’t much turn but enough to ensure that the visitors wilted under pressure as Patel’s series tally stood at highest for a newcomer (27) while Ashwin was peerless as ever with 31 scalps in his kitty.
A lot of credit for this victory should go to the indomitable Rishabh Pant, who played the enforcer on the second day with a magnificent hundred, and Washington Sundar, who notched up a chiselled 96.
These two knocks literally made it impossible for England to make a comeback as a total of 365 seemed like 650.
The coming of age of Pant as a real replacement for the iconic Mahendra Singh Dhoni and emergence of Washington as a potent batting all-rounder only augurs well for the team.