Moeen Ali’s six appeal too strong for India in third test
Spinner ends England’s streak of 10 tests without a victory after visitors’ spectacular collapse before lunch, to level the series 1-1
Agence France-Presse in Southampton
Moeen Ali spun England to victory as they ended a streak of 10 tests without a win by beating India by 266 runs in the third Test at Southampton on Thursday.
Moeen took six for 67 in 20.4 overs, including a spell of four for 17 in 22 balls as England completed a crushing win that saw them level the five-match series at 1-1.
"It was a bit of a scramble for the souvenir stumps at the end as it was some people's first win and I want them to remember that," England captain Alastair Cook said at the presentation ceremony.
"But the senior players stood up as well, the team was fantastic from one to 11.
"Moeen Ali's bowling has come on leaps and bounds this summer, he's fronted up to the responsibility, worked really hard and responded well.
"Getting six wickets to win the game, you couldn't ask for more."
India, chasing what would have been a new fourth innings record winning total of 445, were bowled out for 178 before lunch on the fifth day.
After resuming on 112 for four, India collapsed as they lost their final six wickets for 66 runs inside 25 overs on Thursday, with only Ajinkya Rahane (52 not out) offering much in the way of resistance.
India, 1-0 up after their 95-run win in the second test at Lord’s, resumed knowing the most any side had made in the fourth innings to win a test is the 418 for seven by the West Indies against Australia at St John’s in 2002-03.
The tourists had lost three wickets late on Wednesday to England’s “part-time” spinners Moeen (two for 33 in 12 overs) and Joe Root (one for five in two overs) after Murali Vijay had been run out.
Rahane was 18 not out and Rohit Sharma – dropped on five by James Anderson after he put down a caught and bowled chance – was six not out.
But India lost a wicket without adding to their score.
Man-of-the-match Anderson struck with his third ball on Thursday after Sharma, feeling for the ball a long way outside off stump, was caught behind by test debutant wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
And it was not long before the Lancashire duo combined again as India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (six) was undone by an excellent full-length delivery that nipped away off the seam.
Anderson had taken two wickets for six runs in 12 balls, with India at 120 for six.
But Moeen then trumped that return in spectacular style on a wearing pitch.
Left-hander Ravindra Jadeja (15) was bowled trying to hit against the turn and, four balls later, Bhuvneshwar Kumar fell for a duck after an inside edge ballooned off his pad to Anderson in the gully.
And it was not long before 152 for eight became 178 all out, Moeen bowling tailenders Mohammed Shami (nought) and Pankaj Singh (nine).
That gave Moeen, primarily a batsman, 15 wickets for the series at an impressive average of 26.46.
England, without a test win for nearly a year since beating Australia by 74 runs in Durham to clinch the last year Ashes on home soil, dominated this match.
They made 569 for seven declared featuring Ian Bell’s 167 and Gary Ballance’s test-best 156 before dismissing India for 330, with Anderson marking his 32nd birthday on Wednesday with five for 53.
England, having decided against the follow-on, then made a rapid 205 for four declared that featured an unbeaten 70 from under-pressure captain Alastair Cook – his second fifty of the match after his first innings 95 – and Root’s dashing 56.
One major concern for England is that Anderson could miss both the fourth test at his Old Trafford home ground starting on August 7 and the series finale at The Oval if an International Cricket Council disciplinary hearing on Friday regarding his dust-up with Jadeja in the drawn first test at Trent Bridge finds against him.