Written by Staff Writer
10 Aug, 2014 | 6:10 am
Moeen Ali starred in a dramatic England victory for the second time in as many matches as they crushed India by an innings and 54 runs to win the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Saturday with more than two days to spare.
India suffered their second spectacular collapse of the match in losing nine wickets after tea on the third day — including five for 13 in 21 balls — as England went 2-1 up in the five-match series ahead of next week’s finale at The Oval.
Ali, whose Test-best six for 67 sealed England’s 266-run win in the third Test at Southampton — their first victory in 11 Tests — took four for 13 in 37 balls on the way to innings figures of four for 39 in 13 overs.
What made this slump all the more extraordinary was England fast-medium bowler Stuart Broad, named man-of-the-match for his six for 25 in India’s first innings 152 all out — where they had been eight for four early on — was off the field after being hit on the nose by a Varun Aaron bouncer when trying to hook the fast bowler for a third six in as many balls.
“You don’t often get nine wickets in a session,” said England captain Alastair Cook at the presentation ceremony.
“Moeen was terrific — I’ve never seen a bloke work so hard and improve so much in international cricket,” Cook added.
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted that poor batting had been his side’s Achilles heel.
“Even in the first innings, we weren’t up to the mark. We have to improve before the next Test. So far in this series, our batting has not clicked.”
At tea, India were 33 for one in their second innings — with all-rounder Chris Woakes having taken his first wicket of the series to dismiss Murali Vijay.
But this was quickly transformed into 66 for six.
The collapse started when left-handed opener Gautam Gambhir gloved a short ball from James Anderson to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
Next ball, the start of a new over, saw 53 for two become 53 for three when Cheteshwar Pujara was given out lbw to Ali as he pushed forward.
Pujara looked unhappy but, with India objections meaning the Decision Review System was not in use this series, he had to go.
– Kohli fails again –
But there was no doubt at all when Ajinkya Rahane (one) chipped a tame return catch to Ali.
And then 61 for four became 61 for five when Virat Kohli’s miserable tour continued as, on seven, he edged Anderson, on his Lancashire home ground, to Ian Bell at second slip.
That left the talented batsman with a tally of just 108 runs in eight innings this series at an average of 13.50.
Then a crowd drenched in sunshine — a marked contrast to the rain which had cut short Friday’s play — had more to cheer when Ravindra Jadeja was caught at slip by Chris Jordan off Ali.
India were now 66 for six with England, who had been 1-0 down in the series after a 95-run defeat in the second Test at Lord’s, on the brink of going 2-1 up.
Dhoni had defied England with 71 in the first innings.
But trying to attack Ali he was brilliantly caught for 27 by Gary Ballance, diving to his right at midwicket.
India were now 105 for seven, with all-rounder Ali having taken four for 13 in 27 balls.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, ‘caught’ off a Jordan no-ball on nine, did not make the most of his reprieve when run out for 10 by Ali’s throw to Buttler.
Jordan got in on the act by taking the last two wickets in as many balls, with Aaron caught behind and Pankaj Singh yorked for a duck as India were dismissed for 161 in 43 overs.
Ravichandran Ashwin top-scored with 46 not out.
England resumed Saturday on 237 for six.
Pankaj Singh’s long wait for a first Test wicket — after a debut record worst wicketless return of none for 179 at Southampton — eventually ended when the 6ft 6in paceman took two for four in 15 balls with the new ball.
He dismissed both Joe Root (77) and Buttler (70) after the pair had put on 134 for the seventh wicket.
But England still compiled a total of 367 that gave them a first-innings lead of 215 — more than enough runs as it proved to withstand Broad’s absence.
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