Virat Kohli’s sensational double century and Jayant Yadav’s maiden century followed by the Indian spinners’ strikes left demoralised England on the verge of a heavy defeat on Day 4 of the fourth Test at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday. (Highlights | Scorecard)
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja stood out as India’s bowlers suddenly capitalised on the swing, turn and uneven bounce on the pitch to leave England wobbling early in their second innings.
The Indian bowlers were best equipped to exploit the home conditions, but the opponents’ weak mindset made their job easier late on the penultimate day.
Virat Kohli had left the England camp in disarray. His partnership with Jayant Yadav had shattered the confidence of the visitors and Ashwin and Co knew England were mentally gone by the time the second innings began.
FACING A ROUT
At the end of Day Four, England were staring at another rout. Faced with a deficit of 231 runs, after Kohli (235) and Yadav (104) had stretched India’s innings to 631 with a record 241-run partnership, the visitors slipped to 182 for six.
England need to score 49 more to make India bat again.
Such debacles have strong repercussions. Already there is talk of Alastair Cook losing the England captaincy, and after another wicketless performance, the career of pace spearhead James Anderson, who is pushing 35, could also be on the line.
When you have two of the pillars of the team battling personal doubts, it can create panic in the dressing room. It reflected in the body language of their batsmen when they came out for their second dig. The Indian batsmen had come out positive, but their England counterparts were indecisive, unsure of their footwork.
ROOT, BAIRSTOW DEFIANT
Except for Joe Root, captain-in-waiting, and in-form Jonny Bairstow, the rest seemed to be just going through the motions. The Indian spinners needed no invitation to go for the kill. After Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck with the second ball of the innings to prise out first innings century-maker Keaton Jennings, Ashwin and Jadeja snared two wickets apiece.
This team is on a record-breaking spree, both batsmen and bowlers. After Ashwin had dominated the headlines in the first innings, Jadeja struck a double blow early in the second to cross 100 wickets in Tests.
The tone for the day was set by Kohli and Yadav. England’s hopes of making a match out of it depended on getting early breakthroughs. They looked to target Yadav while being on the defensive against Kohli.
It was a plan that backfired completely. Yadav made the most of the gaps in the field to take the pressure off Kohli by maintaining a healthy scoring rate. After a point, Kohli went berserk, bringing the roof down with a straight six off Woakes and a lofted cover drive.
In the first session, the two amassed 128 runs in just 29 overs with Yadav contributing 62 and Kohli 65.
Jadeja will be happy with how he achieved the milestone. Not all left-arm spinners are confident bowling against left-handed batsmen. In this series though, Jadeja has relished the challenge against England’s left-handers. On Sunday. he claimed both Cook and Moeen Ali.
The day ended in complete misery with England’s ploy of using pacer Jake Ball as nightwatchman also backfiring.
At 182 for six, the writing is on the wall.