India spinners wrap up victory shortly after lunch on day four
India 329 (Rohit 161, Rahane 67, Pant 58*, Moeen 4-128) and 286 (Ashwin 106, Kohli 62, Moeen 4-98, Leach 4-100) beat England 134 (Foakes 42*, Ashwin 5-43) and 164 (Moeen 43, Axar 5-60) by 317 runs
India cruised to victory in a little over a session on the fourth day at Chepauk, Axar Patel collecting a five-wicket haul on debut as England went down by a crushing margin of 317 runs – emphatic retribution after the tourists had gone 1-0 up on this ground less than a week earlier.
Having seen his side dominate the match from toss to finishing tape, Virat Kohli’s satisfaction was as palpable at his disgruntlement after the first Test. On a classically subcontinental surface, England twice could barely match the individual contribution of India’s first-innings centurion, Rohit Sharma, and were left with precious few scraps with which to slink off to Ahmedabad ahead of the day-night encounter, their six-match winning run in away Tests at a halt.
The only slight regret for another enthusiastic crowd came in the absence of another R Ashwin landmark for them to acknowledge – he finished with 8 for 96, narrowly short of becoming only the fourth man to score a century and take ten-for in a Test.
England’s task on their return to the ground was a near-futile one, but there was the potential to spend time in the middle against India’s spinners and salt away knowledge for the battles ahead. As it was, only Joe Root spent any significant amount of time at the crease – even 33 from 92 balls was modest by his recent standards – and barely a shot was played in anger until Moeen Ali decided to go down swinging with five towering sixes before being last man out, stumped off Kuldeep Yadav.
Fittingly for a Test that saw some grumbling about the pitch but was more memorable for the displays of high-class wicketkeeping, the game ended with the ball in the hands of Rishabh Pant. This was only the sixth time in Tests that a match had featured five or more stumpings – and India’s march to victory on the fourth morning began with another, as Dan Lawrence charged at Ashwin only to be nutmegged, leaving Pant to seal his fate after collecting brilliantly down the leg side.
That dismissal brought out Ben Stokes, searching for pointers in his ongoing duel with India’s offspinner. Despite digging in as the ball ripped and spun – one delivery from over the wicket nearly took him on the chin before Pant collected it above his head – Stokes was rendered near-strokeless, facing 38 balls from Ashwin of which 36 were dots, the last also bringing his wicket as an inside edge ricocheted off pad to slip.
Patel picked up his third, following the dismissals of Dom Sibley and Jack Leach on the third evening, when Ollie Pope shovelled a slog-sweep straight to deep midwicket, and although Mohammed Siraj dropped Root with the lunch break approaching, Kuldeep Yadav was finally able to enjoy the feeling of taking a Test wicket, more than two years after his previous appearance, when Ben Foakes swept without conviction and was taken on the edge of the square.
India rounded the rest up without much delay, as Root received a near-unplayable ball, which took the top glove as he pressed forward and flew to slip, and Olly Stone became another victim of the sweep to complete Patel’s five-for. Moeen had some fun with 43 off 18 balls as England at least managed to surpass their first-innings total – but nothing could take the shine off as India rewarded the returning Chepauk crowd with a thumping win, and the afternoon free.
Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick