The prospect of the Indian batsmen putting up a fine batting performance on Day 4 remained a mere fantasy as Ollie Robinson and James Anderson, with the second new ball, bullied the visitors to help England level the five-match series. Beginning Day 4 on 215/2, India lasted just 19.3 overs as England bowled Virat Kohli’s side out for 278 to win by an innings and 76 runs and square the series.
The initial signs were encouraging for India. There were no clouds, the sun was belting down and the day looked perfect for batting. With both Cheteshwar Pujara (91*) and skipper Kohli (45*) well set, the visitors looked set to erase the deficit, which they had brought down under 150 on Day 3, thanks to some gritty batting.
However, Robinson struck on just the fourth over of the day to draw early blood. Pujara, who was eyeing a first Test century in two-and-a-half-years, shouldered an inswinger that trapped him in front of the stumps. The right-hander was initially ruled not out by the on-field umpire, but after Joe Root called for a review, ball-tracker confirmed that the Saurashtra batsman was a goner, as it displayed three reds.
Pujara’s dismissal was the shot in the arm England needed. On his fourth over with the second new-ball, Anderson found his groove and bowled a near-perfect over to Kohli, in which he was agonizingly close to sending the Indian skipper back to the hut. After bowling five dots, Anderson got Kohli fending at one on ball six, which seemed to have kissed the outside edge of the batsman.
The umpire ruled it out, and Kohli too started walking, but vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane managed to persuade his skipper into reviewing the call. It turned out to be a smart decision as replays showed that Kohli had not in fact nicked the ball, with the noise generated being due to his bat brushing his front pad. Kohli survived.
The 32-year-old, however, did not survive for long as three overs later, after bringing up his 26th Test fifty, the Indian skipper perished. After collecting two boundaries of the first five balls of the 90th over, the right-hander pushed at a Robinson delivery on ball number six that took the outside edge. The catch was gobbled up safely by his counterpart, Root, at first slip, and within the first ten overs of the day, India lost both their overnight batsmen who were set.
Kohli’s dismissal opened the floodgates. In the very next over, Rahane (10) edged one off Anderson to the wicket-keeper Jos Buttler, and five balls later, Rishabh Pant followed suit. Pant chased a wide one from Robinson, and he perished for a 7-ball 1, with Craig Overton at third slip safely taking the catch. 215/2 became 239/6 inside the first hour, with the visiting batsmen showing no resistance against the second new-ball.
Post Pant’s dismissal, everything was regulation for England. Ravindra Jadeja frustrated them for a while by striking a few lusty blows, but the southpaw had no support. He eventually perished for 30, nicking one to the impressive Craig Overton.
Both Mohammed Shami (6) and Ishant Sharma (2) did not last 10 balls, and the latter’s dismissal handed Robinson the second five-wicket haul of his career. The Sussex man was the pick of the bowlers, and it was his triple strike in the first hour - Pujara, Kohli and Pant - that set up victory for the hosts.
Overton (3/47) finished off proceedings with the wicket of Mohammed Siraj to hand England an innings victory.
The fourth Test will be played at The Oval from September 2, and the two sides will enter the game with the score tied at 1-1.