Wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant and opener Lokesh Rahul’s heroics went in vain as England defeated India by 118 runs in the last Test match to clinch the series 4-1. The final Test match was played at Kennington Oval in London.
With India chasing a massive 463-run target, the last day of the series saw a bit of drama as centuries by Lokesh Rahul and Rishabh Pant gave India a slim hope of clinching, or at least saving, the Test.
Rahul played a fighting knock of 149 runs before a spectacular delivery by England spinner Moeen Ali ended his resistance.
Pant, who scored 114, gave him excellent support from the other end as the duo built up a partnership of 204 runs to frustrate the England bowlers for a long time.
However, their fall bought the hosts back in contest and the English bowlers then made no mistake as they performed the last rites with ease, scalping the remaining three Indian wickets of Ravindra Jadeja (13), Ishant Sharma (5) and Mohammed Shami (0) in quick succession.
For England, James Anderson picked up three wickets for 45 runs while Sam Curran and Adil Rashid bagged two wickets each.
Here is what who said after India’s defeat:
Jimmy Anderson on breaking Glenn McGrath’s record: “I am happy to win the game. My job was to hold an end. I was in a good rhythm. Thankfully, Joe let me take the new ball. On Cook, yes, he is my best mate and I am going to miss him. He has been brilliant.”
England’s Man of the Series, Sam Curran: “It is just nice to be involved in such a historic series. To win the series and send off Cookie, it is phenomenal. Playing with the likes of Broady, Jimmy and Stokes, It has been a good learning curve. I think consistency is the main thing. Don’t look too far ahead. Hopefully, I can keep contributing. Missing out on the second game and then coming back to contribute was a great thing for me.”
Man of the Match, Alastair Cook: “It has been the most amazing week. Got a text from Beefy (Ian Botham) and he said ‘Can I have your script writer?’ The memories shared with my team is what I’ll miss the most. Some very good moments. Today it showed how tough Test cricket can be. I leave with great memories. To see Jimmy go past Glenn McGrath was brilliant.”
Cook added: “Just has been a privilege to have played with England’s greatest cricketer. No disrespect to any other cricketer. He almost takes it for granted that he will hit the length from ball one. It is fitting that he got the last wicket. You miss all the highs. I would miss playing for this team. This week can’t be beaten. I can walk away with my head held high.”
Indian skipper Virat Kohli, and India’s Man of the Series: “I think a lot of credit has to go to the two young guys. The kind of cricket we have played might not show on the scorecard. But both the teams know this series has been a competitive one. This has been a great advert for Test cricket. The basic idea was to go out there and play the cricket we are supposed to do.”
Kohli added, “England are a professional side and we realized that as the game changed within two-three overs. Pant showed a lot of grit and character. We have character in the team and we just need some experience. When you get into a zone when you are not thinking about the result, things go your way. I am delighted for both the guys and it speaks of India’s future. We did not take out opportunities.”
“England also don’t go for draws and they played fearless cricket and so did we. That is why you won’t see draws in these kinds of series’. We can take a lot of heart from this but apply ourselves better the next time around. There is a reason why we voted for Sam to be the Man of the series. It takes character to come in and play like that. He put England forward in the 1st and 4th Test match. There should be exciting pitches all over the result. The fans will come and watch if both teams play for a win. Just one word for Cook. You have had a great career. All the best for all your future endeavours,” Virat kohli concluded.
English skipper Joe Root:” It has been a very tough series. India have played some exceptional cricket. Everyone watching would have been thrilled as well. India batted really well to get into that position in the final session. I mean Alastair has been such an exceptional player for a long time. He has been a huge part of our dressing room.”
Joe Root added: “Jimmy has a lot left I am sure. To achieve what he has is unbelievable. He has been bowling as well as he ever has. Hopefully, he can continue for many more years. We are growing all the time. Some young guys have stood up and performed. We have a lot of learning to do.”
-With IANS inputs.