Hello and welcome to Sportstar 's coverage of Day 3 of the fourth Test between India and England from the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
And Virat Kohli's mighty Indian side book their place in the World Test Championship final with an emphatic victory. After a debacle in Chennai, India bounced back in style in a series that witnessed the rise of new stars among the the refinement old warriors. Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel and Rishabh Pant pass out with flying colours as we will witness them in whites again, three months from now: ICC World Test Championship Final: India vs New Zealand, June 18-22 at Lord's.
Thanks for tuning in, folks! Do join us back for the T20I series next week!
And the mighty Indian brigade walks out to celebrate after its 13th consecutive Test series win at home!
England 135 all out after 52.5 overs: 30th five-wicket haul for Ravichandran Ashwin. Snaps Leach and Lawrence and India seals a ticket to Lord's in June! A regulation edge from Leach found its home in Rahane's hands at first-slip. Lawrence gets the strike from Anderson and in a rush of blood, goes for a massive slog down the ground. Ashwin darts in a quicker one and cleans up the stumps and India registers its series win with a thumping innings and 25-run win!
England 132/8 after 53 overs: Leach manages to frustrate Ashwin and even tricked umpire Virender Sharma into judging him out after a wild Indian appeal behind the stumps. No edge as thought to be as we enter into the last hour of the day.
England 132/8 after 52 overs: Lawrence nears his half-century in a well-composed innings. Like I had mentioned before the start of the English innings, Lawrence has mixed aggression with some compact defense off the front-foot. With 15 overs remaining in the day's play, England would love to just extend India's wait for another day. Seems impossible but you never know. For the moment, England trails India by 28 runs with two wickets in hand.
England 122/8 after 49 overs: Lawrence has no options left but attack and so he obliges with a boundary off Ashwin. His case gets some support with Leach holding his end safe at the moment.
England 111/8 after 46 overs: Axar to Bess. OUT! Fourth fifer for Axar Patel! A rough slog attempt from Bess caught the under-edge and there's another excellent grab from Pant behind the stumps. Axar's magnificent run continues with the ball and India is nearly through the door. Dom Bess c †Pant b Patel 2 (6b)
England 111/7 after 44 overs: Axar to Foakes. OUT! A sizzling, reflex catch from Rahane! Axar finally finds the edge off Foakes as he chips one outside off. The ball steams low past Pant and Rahane skims low with his hands. He is unsure as he catches the ball and prompts the umpire to refer upstairs. Surprisingly, the replays suggest that Jinks has held that rather comfortably. India knocks off the partnership and is now three wickets away from a series win. Ben Foakes c Rahane b Patel 13 (46b)
England 105/6 after 41 overs: A valiant partnership from Foakes and Lawrence take England past 100. The pair has added 40 runs and have looked well-settled against the Indian spinners. Kohli, meanwhile has brought Sundar back into the attack as Ashwin plies from the other end.
England 98/6 after 37 overs: Ashwin back into the attack which means a lone over for Sundar. Axar and Ashwin push along their usual lengths but Foakes and Lawrence have played with minimal fuss at the moment.
England 95/6 after 34 overs: Sundar strays onto the pads as Foakes and Lawrence rotate the strike freely upon resumption. England tottering towards the 100-run mark but that means fairly nothing for India still holds a health 60-plus run lead.
Lawrence and Foakes are back at the crease. Washington Sundar up with the ball.
We head into the final session of the day! India four wickets away from a series win.
30 overs. 85 runs. 6 wickets. India has sealed the deal in quick-time with a cracking session. The Ashwin-Axar carnage found no answers in the England camp once again.
England 91/6 after 33 overs: TEA | Foakes continues to present a dead bat against the turn while Lawrence goes the other way with his usual flamboyance. India also loses a review as a persuasive Ashwin tempts Kohli for a review even as his keeper Pant suggested the ball was outside the leg-stump after hitting Lawrence's pads.
England 74/6 after 29 overs: Lawrence and Foakes are caught in a quagmire with Axar and Ashwin spitting fire under the sun. England's batsmen have lost this battle even before they have set out to bat with their approach toppling technique as the major bane against India's spin attack.
England 67/6 after 26 overs: Ashwin to Root. OUT! Ashwin traps the skipper in front! Ashwin comes from around the wicket to Root and darts one in that runs through the line without much spin. Root moves back and plays for the turn and misses it altogether. Root goes for the review but the replays suggest he was plumb in front. Three Reds and that might well suggest the end of the road for England. Joe Root lbw b Ashwin 30 (72b 3x4)
England 65/5 after 25 overs: Axar to Pope. OUT! SENSATIONAL from Rishabh Pant behind the stumps! Axar darts one into Pope as he steps out. The ball beats him with steep bounce and Pant manages to hold onto the ball and smash the stumps in a flash! How has he managed to catch sight of the ball? Fast and sharp bounce but India's Spider-Man pulls it off with sheer nonchalance. Ollie Pope st †Pant b Patel 15 (31b 0x4 1x6)
England 54/4 after 21 overs: Pope steps out to take Ashwin downtown for a huge six. England moves past 50 as Root and Pope show an ounce of resilience. The batsmen have put out the sweep to good effect against Axar while Ashwin is a tad off-guard in his fresh spell.
England 37/4 after 17 overs: Kohli brings Siraj back to the attack, giving Ashwin a break. The Indian captain probably wants to upset the rhythm of Root who seems to have settled down. Root has meanwhile pasted the sweep well agains Axar.
England 33/4 after 14 overs: Axar to Stokes. OUT! And gone, India is running through the Englishmen! Stokes attempts to get off strike with a tame lap shot off Axar, only to chip one to Kohli at leg-slip. He is absolutely gutted and hits his bat on the ground in desperation. The fight from England seems to be short-lived once again as their main-man in this Test has walked back early. Ben Stokes c Kohli b Patel 2 (9b)
A fine topping being served on the field as well.....
England 30/3 after 13 overs: Stokes and Root , the best batsmen of their side have an uphill task on their hand. Feel for Stokes after all those selfless run-ins through two days with the ball. He will have to battle his physical self and the brilliance of Axar and Ashwin on this pitch.
England 20/3 after 10 overs: Axar to Sibley. OUT! Unfortunate for Sibley and so for Gill as he cops a full-bloodied sweep from the England opener at short leg. The ball lobs in the air directly off Gill and Pant completes the catch as England slips further down the abyss. Sibley's torrid tour ends with a rather bizarre dismissal. Dom Sibley c †Pant b Patel 3 (21b)
England 19/2 after 9 overs: There's more drift on offer for Ashwin and Axar as opposed to their English counterparts. Root attempts to sweep Axar to keep the straighter ball out of the equation and mistimes it for a top-edge that falls in the vacant field behind square leg.
England 11/2 after 5 overs: TWO IN TWO for Ashwin! Crawley and Bairstow fall in a flash. Ashwin revels in his first over with the new ball as a simple drift in finds Crawley's outside edge straight to Rahane. Easy. Bairstow comes in and slides the ball to his pads straight to Rohit at leg-slip. Horrendous batting from England! Two deliveries of absolutely no threat over it has gifted Ashwin twin strikes in his first over. Zak Crawley c Rahane b Ashwin 5 (16b), Jonny Bairstow c RG Sharma b Ashwin 0 (1b)
England 6/0 after 4 overs: Sibley makes use of some nimble-footwork to quell Axar's straighter ball at the moment. A maiden over to start for India post lunch and it seems like Ashwin will take the ball from the other end as he warms up.
Welcome back to Session 2! Kohli and his men take the field. England openers Crawley and Sibley walk out to the middle as well.
When India resumed a fight-back, England would not have expected a king-size retaliation. Washington Sundar and Axar Patel rode on the momentum with another 100-run partnership landing a body blow on Joe Root's bowlers. England's best bets with the ball, Stokes and Anderson, seemed to be in a tussle with fatigue as the pair could do little to prevent the southpaw assault. And a break had to come through a run out with Axar missing out on his fifty. England's workhorse, Stokes was back to the thick of things as he removed Ishant Sharma and Siraj in a single over to bowl out India for 365, the agony of which bore a little on Sundar who remained unbeaten on 96.
Coming out to bat again as India leads by 154, England's quest for survival cannot be a matter of sole defense which would nearly be impossible against the likes of Axar and Ashwin for long hauls. Can England land a perfect cocktail of aggression and defensive strokeplay - if so they'll well be back in this for a twist.
England 6/0 after 3 overs: LUNCH | Sibley and Crawley see off the brief period. A lot more positive strides onto the ball is visible from the openers and that might come in handy post lunch to tackle the spinners. India walks back with the hold on this Test after a 154-run lead.
England 1/0 after 1 over: A fine start for Siraj as Crawley begins patiently. No signs of Ishant on the field and that could mean Axar could share the new ball with Siraj ahead of lunch.
Mohammed Siraj up with the new ball.
India takes the field as England openers Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley walk out to bat. 11 minutes of action left before lunch.
A massive 160-run lead up its sleeve and India takes the field with one foot into the WTC final set already.
India 365 all out after 114.4 overs: Ben Stokes cleans up the tail! Agonising for Sundar as he remains unbeaten on 96.... Stokes bowls a fuller delivery to Ishant first up as he shuffles towards the off-stump and misses it. Plumb in front and the umpire gives it straightaway. Siraj had only task up his sleeve, to see off the over. But Stokes came around once again to clean up the wickets with a slower delivery that flounders Siraj. A polished knock from Sundar does not get its fruitful reward at the end. Ishant Sharma lbw b Stokes 0 (1b), Mohammed Siraj b Stokes 0 (3b)
India 365/8 after 114 overs: Root to Sundar. OUT! Run out at the non-striker's end and Axar Patel has to walk back. Sundar nudges the ball from his pads onto Bairstow at short mid-wicket by which time Axar has set out for the single. A quick throw forces Axar to run back as Root knocks the bails off in a flash. The replays suggest that he is well short of ground and Axar misses out on a half-century. Axar Patel run out (Bairstow/Root) 43 (97b 5x4 1x6)
India 363/7 after 113 overs: Back-to-back 100-run partnerships for India! Sundar and Axar have knocked the air out of England's bowlers with a brilliant methodical approach. Both the batsmen did not allow the spinners to settle and has dealt with Ben Stokes rather easily. The lead climbs to 158 while England's chances dwindle.
India 349/7 after 110 overs: Within 25 overs, Root has used all of his bowlers including himself, but Sundar and Patel have not budged. Axar's sturdy approach has put Sundar in firm position to play his strokes. On 89 now, he knows he can get that ton for his father after missing out on one in Gabba!
India 342/7 after 107 overs: Sundar inches towards his ton! Ben Stokes is into the attack but the tough competitor seems to have lost a tooth after a rough day on the field yesterday. His pace is down and so have the batsmen found it easy to drive. Effectively, Sundar has gone past his highest score in Tests.
India 332/7 after 104 overs: India in cruise control. Axar gets into the act as well as he smashes Leach for a six straight down the ground. Leach has bowled way too straight and the batsmen have got enough time up their sleeves to carve it through the field.
India 321/7 after 101 overs: Root replaces Bess with Leach but India is motoring through at the moment. Axar invites him with a massive slog over long-on and Anderson has been put to bay by Sundar at the other end. India pushing England out of contention by the minute.
India 309/7 after 98 overs: Sundar brings up 300 for India with a spectacular six down the ground. Poor tactics from England to start with Bess first-up in the morning. Sundar adds another sizzling drive to the boundary off Bess as India's
lead crosses 100. India's left-handed pair has brought up its 50-run partnership after a productive over.
India 294/7 after 95 overs: Anderson hits the line outside off, attempting Sundar to aim for a drive to start his day. Sundar, however, obliges with casual leaves as Anderson maintains the same line throughout.
Jimmy Anderson up with the ball.
Welcome to Day 3's action, folks! Joe Root and Co. walk out to the field as Washington Sundar and Axar Patel walk out to bat.
England has let India stamp the lead, easing the pressure off the huddle ahead of Day 3
As we near action on Day 3, it will be interesting to look into England's approach from here on. The lack of another pacer has put a huge workload on Stokes and Anderson on Friday. Dom Bess failed to validate his inclusion, with a boundary ball gifted nearly every over to the Indians. With the pitch expected to display some wear and tear from today, England has its task cut out with bat as India's lead nears the 100-run mark. A win for Root and Co. is a far cry at the moment.
An hour or so away from the start. Meanwhile, cherish the 50th anniversary of the test debut of one of India's greatest cricketers - Sunil Gavaskar!
Sunil Gavaskar Test debut on this day 50 years ago
Day 2 - Review
In a riveting day of Test match cricket with enthralling ebbs and flows, India bounced back from the dust to virtually deal England the knockout punch. Joe Root's men would have had a rough night, ruing their slip-up after grappling the rope tight early on Friday. England's fightback after posting 205 began on fine note as it snapped the big 3 - Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane within the first hour.
A machine-like Anderson and a relentless Ben Stokes even managed to put the Hitman Rohit Sharma into a shell, who crawled slowly to his 49. India seemed to have given it away at the loss of Rohit's wicket - putting England in the lead with nearly 80 runs, before the sensational Rishabh Pant joined forces with the new kid on the block, Washington Sundar.
Rishabh Pant's hundred puts India in control of fourth Test
As Pant brisky strode to a fifty, Sundar cautiously had his eye in as England's spinners - Jack Leach and Dom Bess - erred in their line and lengths to provide a boundary ball every now and then. And soon, Pant raced through the ranks to put up a spectacle at Motera. Sweeping and smashing the spinners, a reverse-ramp off Jimmy Anderson and what not! The dashing southpaw brought up his third Test ton in quite some style with a gigantic six, however, fell soon after. Sundar took on the baton from the mark.
A delectable array of punch drives and blazing cuts through point helped Sundar notch up another fifty in his early days in the India whites and soon India racked up a 89-run lead to put England completely out of the equation.
What began as a remarkable English comeback wilted away to stage another tale of a gritty Indian comeback, nearly booking its ticket to London in June.
Stats Highlights from Day 2
WHAT THEY SAID
“In my opinion, it was one of his finest knocks. It came under pressure as well. We weren’t in a good position when he came in to bat and we saw a few sides of his batting today. He was cautious at the beginning and then he flourished the he way know him and put the team in command,” Rohit Sharma on Rishabh Pant's 101.