Little did the Indian cricket fans recover from the fourth test when the Indian cricket team plumbed to a new depth by submissively losing the fifth test by a margin of an innings and 244 runs at the Oval. The Independence Day celebrations were in full swing in India when the Indian batting line-up collapsed like a house of cards yet again on English soil. If anyone thought they would do better than disintegrating at 8/4, they did marginally better; by managing 9/2 this time around.
England won the toss and Alastair Cook chose to field first. Stuart Binny was included in the playing XI, replacing Ravindra Jadeja. Once again, the Indian batsmen failed to build a substantial opening partnership and at the score of 36 runs, half of the Indian squad was back in pavilion. Merely three players could reach two-digit figures, out of which Indian skipper MS Dhoni scored 82 and was the top-scorer in the first innings. India eventually put together a meager total of 148. The English pacers took all ten wickets, with Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan grabbing three each and Stuart Broad and James Anderson following with two apiece.
High on confidence, the hosts opened relatively well but lost Sam Robson at 66 after which Cook and Gary Ballance began laying the foundation of the English innings. The English side finally amassed a huge total of 486 runs. Joe Root was the highest run-scorer for England with an unbeaten 149, and he was supported well by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler in an 80-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
Root also built significant partnerships with tail-enders Jordan and Broad, and helped England muster the colossal total. Ishant Sharma led the bowling camp with four wickets, and R. Ashwin took three. England had a lead of 338, and India had a big mountain to climb
Failing at Boot Camp
However, India barely made a fight of it. The second innings of India did not have much to look forward to, except Chris Jordan’s impeccable bowling spell (4 wickets) that ripped them apart. The batting woes continued to torment the Indian fans and in less than three days, India lost the fifth and last test of the series. India got out at the paltry total of 94 within 30 overs. The biggest partnership in the Indian innings was of 21 runs, which was for the third wicket. England won the 5-match test series 3-1.
With the first half of their tour finished, India now has to play a practice match against Middlesex on 22nd August before locking horns with the English national team for the ODI series. Starting from August 25 in Bristol, it will consist of five One Day International matches and will conclude in Leeds on 5th September, followed by the only T20 match on 7th September in Birmingham.
While the Indian team has a lot to think about in the days to follow till the commencement of the ODI series, England will be high on morale after registering a convincing victory over India. The ODI team will have some new faces donning the Indian colors, including Sanju Samson and Karn Sharma. After the end to a disheartening Test battle, all Indians can hope for is to present a challenging opposition to England in the limited overs format.