England Clinch Test Series Against India
England have beaten India in the five-Test series with one Test still to play. England went into the 4th Test held at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, leading the series 2-1 and set India a 2nd innings target of 245. Moen Ali was the man of the match taking 4 wickets for 71 runs.
India started badly with the bat and looked beaten as they slumped to 22-3 on an uneven pitch that favoured the bowlers. Dhawan was caught by Stokes from an Anderson delivery for 17, Rahul was bowled for a duck by Broad and another Anderson delivery took out Pujara for 5.
India recovered with Kohli scoring 58 from 130 balls and Rahane hitting 51 from 159 deliveries, but once Rahane and Rishabh Pant fell in quick succession, the Indian mid-order struggled and the wickets came thick and fast for England. Once Ashwin was bowled LBW from a Curran delivery for 25 the Indian tailenders only added eight to the score and India were all out for 184.
Much of the credit for this victory has to go to the man of the match, Moeen Ali. The off-spinner took five wickets in the first innings and four in the vital second innings. When Moeen took the vital wicket of Virat Kohli the Indian batsman looked visibly shaken and this swung the game in England’s favour.
While England cannot be caught in this series, this Test has been a lot closer than the scoreboard suggests. Even on the final day at the Ageas Bowl, while Indian captain Virat Kohli was at the crease, there was the danger that the Top-order batsman would lead his team to victory and level the series 2-2.
Curran is England’s Future
In the first Test at Edgbaston, it took the emergence of Sam Curran to rescue England when all looked lost at 87-7. His half-century helped England to a narrow victory of 31 runs. The youngster then repeated the feat in the first innings of the fourth Test when England were floundering on 86-6. The Surrey youngster hit 78 to set up an unlikely win.
Curran is also demonstrating his all-round value to England with his bowling ability, dismissing Kohli with the ball in the first innings as well as removing Ravichandran Ashwin in the second, just as the 31-year-old was looking dangerous with a score of 25.
Curran, who is England’s youngest player on the pitch by six years, is one of the most exciting players to represent England for a long time. He made his debut for England in the second Test against Pakistan aged just 19 and only received a call up due to the injury to Ben Stokes.
In that game he was a peripheral figure, but his heroics in this Test series mean he is likely to be one of the first names chosen by the England selectors in the future. He is likely to star in the next Test series against Sri Lanka that starts in November.
Captain Cook Calls Time on International Career
Whilst Curran is the future, England’s captain Alastair Cook has announced his retirement from international cricket. England’s highest-scoring batsman has called time on an international career spanning 160 Tests in which he scored 12,254 runs, hit 32 centuries and made 173 catches.
Cook ranks sixth in the list of the highest-scoring Test batsmen of all time and scored 3,354 more runs than Graham Gooch, who was England’s top Test run scorer before Cook, a record Gooch held for 20 years.
In recent Tests Cook’s run rate has slowed considerably and possibly due to the emergence of Curran, Cook has decided to retire from the international circuit to concentrate on playing County cricket.