India have booked their place in the World Test Championship final. They thrashed England by an innings and 25 runs on the third day of the fourth and final cricket test in Ahmedabad. England were dismissed for 205 and 135 runs in their respective innings, in reply to India’s 365. The hosts also wrapped up the series 3-1.
India resumed their first innings on 294 for seven on day three. Washington Sundar was on 60 and
Axar Patel on 11. The two put on 106 runs for the 8th wicket before Patel was run out for 43.
The last three wickets fell within five deliveries, and with the score on 365. Sundar finished unbeaten on 96 and India enjoyed a first-innings lead of 160 runs.
But England had a disastrous start to their second innings. Ravidranchan Ashwin struck early to get rid of Zak Crawley for just five and then Jonny Bairstow was out for a duck with the very next delivery. England were struggling on 10 for two.
Opener Dom Sibley managed just three, while danger man, Ben Stokes, was out for two and England were in all sorts of trouble on 30 for four.
Captain Joe Root tried to provide some resistance. He made 30 before Ashwin struck again.
Ashwin and Patel had a field day at the office. They claimed five wickets each as England again struggled against spin.
The hosts were finally dismissed for just 135 when Ashwin bowled Dan Lawrence for 50. With that, India secured a stunning innings and 25-run victory and secured their place in the WTC final in June.
“Now we can accept and admit that we are in the final. Till now, it was more of a distraction for us, because we are a side that is very committed to playing test cricket, and all these extra things can be a distraction for us. There was never a question of commitment or whether we were going to go for a win or not. It did become a bit of a distraction for us in New Zealand. But from then on, it was just focus on one game at a time and now we are in the finals, which we can’t wait to be a part of,” says the Indian captain, Virat Kohli.
For England, it’s back to the drawing board. Difficult lessons were learnt.
England captain, Joe Root, says: “I think we have to be honest, have to be realistic about things. We’ve just got to keep looking to get better. Keep looking to learn, keep looking to improve individually and as a group and know that we still have a year of very big test cricket ahead of us. It’s really important that we become a better side for this experience and this series, and we keep looking to evolve and move forward.”
India will meet New Zealand in the WTC final. The match will get underway at Lords in England on June 18.