England subsided to an innings-and-36-run defeat on the final day of the fourth Test in Mumbai as India swiftly sealed a series victory.
Resuming on 182-6 – still 49 behind – England’s final four wickets fell in 48 balls, with Ravichandran Ashwin taking 6-55 for match figures of 12-167.
It is only the third time a Test side has made 400 or more in their first innings and then lost by an innings.
India, 3-0 up with one match to play, have now won five consecutive series.
The world number ones are unbeaten in 18 matches at home, winning 15 of those, a run that dates back to England’s 2-1 series win in 2012.
For Alastair Cook’s side, a fourth defeat in five matches is their seventh of the year – their 12-month worst of eight losses could be equalled in the fifth and final Test, which begins in Chennai on Friday.
In defeats in the second and third Tests, England were punished for batting collapses. Here, they were outclassed, and not helped by their team selection or the shortcomings of their squad.
Both Joe Root and James Anderson admitted the tourists were wrong to chose four pacemen and only two spinners on a pitch that assisted the slow bowlers more than any other in the series.
Still, their options were limited. Of the travelling squad, off-spinner Gareth Batty had a poor third Test, left-arm spinner Liam Dawson is uncapped and batsmen Gary Ballance and Ben Duckett are out of form.
The selection problems were compounded by errors from the tourists in Mumbai. After winning the toss, England found themselves 220-2, from which a total of 400 all out was a disappointment,
Then, with chosen spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali disappointing, England missed chances off Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay as Jayant Yadav, who made a double century and two hundreds between them as India racked up a massive 631.
Realistically, a different England XI or squad is unlikely to have made a great deal of difference. In these conditions, India are vastly superior.
Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott
If the pitch in the next Test is going to be like this, you can open the bowling with James Anderson and Ben Stokes. You need an extra spinner and an extra batsman. I don’t care who you leave out. You don’t pick Stuart Broad because he’s good bowler and he’s fit, or Chris Woakes because he’s had a fantastic year.
I would send for another batsman from the Lions. All Gary Ballance has had is nets and drinks, the kid must be soul destroyed. He should be sent home. Ben Duckett isn’t good enough when it turns. he’s a one-day player. If you’re not confident in them, let them go home. The last person they got from the Lions, Keaton Jennings, got a hundred in this match.
Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan
England’s spinners aren’t as good as India’s, but England’s batting hasn’t been good enough either. They don’t have the patience to bat long enough, to play low-risk strokes. They have lots of boundaries options, but not enough in terms of defence. Every time England are putting a partnership together, there’s a lot of risk.
England have been hammered. You can make up excuses, to say that Virat Kohli is only good in theses conditions, but that is nonsense.
On a turning pitch and facing the expertise, accuracy and sleight of hand of off-spinner Ashwin and left-armer Ravindra Jadeja, the best England could have hoped for was to avoid an innings defeat.
That wish evaporated in an eight-over blur of high-quality spin bowling that, at times, was close to unplayable.
The masterful Ashwin’s best trick was his first, a beautifully disguised carrom ball turning the other way to deceive Jonny Bairstow, who missed by some distance and was trapped lbw for 51.
After that, the end came quickly. Chris Woakes was bowled through the gate playing a drive, Adil Rashid flicked to deep mid-wicket and last man James Anderson was caught at mid-on.
Overall, taking in the fourth evening, Ashwin finished the match with five wickets for six runs in the space of 25 deliveries.
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England captain Alastair Cook: “We need to play almost a perfect game out here to win and we keep missing opportunities out here. It’s like we need to take 14 wickets. It’s a missed opportunity, there’s no doubt about it.
“Our seamers have given us great control in this series in general. You watch how India’s spinners bowl sometimes, they bowl defensively and keep the score down. Our seamers can do that.
“We wanted to try four seamers and two spinners to see how it played to our strengths. This looked a pretty same wicket to the one we played in Mumbai last time, but I think it spun more.
India captain Virat Kohli: “This is probably the sweetest of all that we’ve won so far in the past 14, 15 months. Three-nil against a top-quality side who have beaten us the last two times, everything is really good.
“If you don’t have a good defence in India it’s very difficult to counter the bowling we have. We sensed they don’t have enough faith in the way they go about their innings.
“We knew it’s only a matter of time, we take a couple of wickets and they crumble quickly. We knew it wouldn’t be long.”
England coach Trevor Bayliss: “Most of the Test matches we’ve had one or two good days, or sessions, but when you’re playing one of the best teams in the world in their home conditions, that’s what you face.
“This game, our spinners would probably agree, they didn’t hit their lengths like they did in the first three games. We tried three spinners in the first few games and that didn’t work.
“We don’t get to face the quality of spin bowlers they’ve got there in home conditions. The more we can come and play here, I’d like to think the next time we come here, we’d know what to expect.”
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