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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014
5th Test: England rout India at The Oval to seal emphatic series win
Sanjjeev K Samyal, Hindustan Times
London, August 17, 2014
First Published: 15:42 IST(17/8/2014)
Last Updated: 02:58 IST(18/8/2014)

If Indian fans thought nothing could be worse than the 4-0 Test series rout they suffered in England in 2011, they were in for a surprise on Sunday as the MS Dhoni-led side sank to a new low.

In an abject surrender, the visitors were shot out for 94 in their second innings to lose the fifth Test by an innings and 244 runs on the third day at The Oval in London. It's India's third heaviest defeat, and 15th within three days.

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England captain Alastair Cook holds the trophy after winning the series 3-1 against India after the fifth Test at The Oval in London. (Reuters Photo)

Dhoni redeemed his reputation as a batsman, but the annihilation raised questions about his ability to take India forward, and the same is true for coach Duncan Fletcher.

It was India's fifth overseas series defeat in a row in their tenure, starting with the 2011 rout. They had lost in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand before arriving in England.

There is need for accountability and the buck stops with the captain and coach. There was nothing wrong with the pitch, and in the same conditions, England scored 486. Trailing by 338 runs on the first innings, it was a procession with the innings lasting just 29.2 overs.

More than the margin of defeat, the manner of capitulation stood out, having thrown in the towel on the opening morning.

Since the third Test in Southampton, the slide has been dramatic. In the last four innings, the totals have been 152 and 161 (Old Trafford) and 148 and 94 in London.

In the first innings too, India were 90 for nine before Dhoni scored 82. This time, the skipper fell for a duck.

India compounded their misery with silly run-outs, poor slip catching and positioning and 'taking wickets' off no-balls. With the top order blown away time and again, the problems for India mounted as the series entered the second half.

At The Oval, the openers were gone before the score was nine, lynchpin Cheteshwar Pujara was out with the total at 30. The innings lasted a total of two hours and 23 minutes as eight wickets fell for 85 runs between lunch and tea.

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Virat Kohli walks back to the pavilion after getting out for 20 runs on the third day of the fifth Test between England and India at The Oval in London. (AFP Photo)

The Indian Board will have to look at their scheduling too. Once the momentum was lost, the pressure was relentless. Five Test series against a good attack in helpful conditions and no side games to get your act together, India had no chance to fight back.

It was a dramatic turnaround. The last time in London, England had looked down and out after the defeat at Lord's. On Saturday, they slaughtered India as they would a club side.

The worst feeling was sitting in the skipper's post-match press conference, as one knew nothing was going to come out of it - no post-mortem or analysis. As far as Tests are concerned, there's little hope for Indian cricket in this way.


Commentary, India 2nd Innings




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