NEW DELHI, Nov. 29: India sealed a rather comfortable win in Mohali and achieved the 103-run target England had set them after being bowled out for 238 in their second innings. Parthiv Patel played an entertaining knock and remained unbeaten on 67 to cap off a resounding win for India and give his side an unassailable 2-0 series lead.
Victory was achieved with 8 wickets and it stretches India's unbeaten streak in Tests to 17 at home - their second-highest. India needed to knock off a rather easy target. Only two sides in Test history - Australia v England in Aug 1882 & West Indies v Zimbabwe in March 2000 - had successfully defended a target less than 103 runs.
England could not add themselves to the list. India lost the early wicket of Murali Vijay and then of Cheteshwar Pujara 25 away, but Patel and Virat Kohli knocked off the remaining runs. Parthiv followed his plucky 42 from the first innings with his 5th half-century in Tests and made a serious case in point to be considered for the next Test.
First ball he faced, Parthiv sent it crashing towards the point boundary. Earlier in the day he dropped a tough chance of Haseeb Hameed and looked keen to more than just make up for it. Picture-perfect cover drives and cuts followed, and before England could muster any offence, India were already past 50. Ben Stokes tried to pepper him with the short balls but Parthiv didn't bog down
Pujara declared his intention by hitting consecutive fours off James Anderson, but with India 15 away, he was out caught at short fine-leg, opting for a deft paddle. Fittingly, Parthiv finished the game with a cut off Adil Rashid for four.
England was sent packing for 236 soon after India took the second new ball with Mohammed Shami producing a fiery spell in which he snuffed out two wickets in three balls. Hameed, batting with an injured finger, produced a gutsy half-century and remained not out on 58, an effort that may amount to nothing more than a consolation prize since.
The Indian spinners maintained their strong foothold in the match by picking up three wickets in the morning session, including that of an ominous-looking Joe Root, to further dent England's hopes of saving the Test. Root and Hameed took England into the lead after they had lost two wickets early in the session. Root, after reaching his 25th Test fifty, was dismissed 10 minutes before lunch exposing the England tail.
Hameed played a typical ball-sapping innings. With England having lost overnight batsman Gareth Batty and then Jos Buttler, Root took responsibility of scoring, while Hameed was happy seeing off the spin. The comfort with which he batted raised concerns over his decision of not opening the innings but that's always debatable.
India were hard to keep quiet. Second over of the day, Ravindra Jadeja had Batty out leg before. Buttler walked in and hit three fours. The message was clear, that England wanted to get moving and not just eat up balls. But they always ran the risk of losing wickets and that is exactly what happened when an ambitious heave by Buttler saw him find the fielder at long-on.
Root carried his fine overnight form and did the right thing by not getting bogged down, and instead scored runs. He seemed to be the only one with proper understanding of how the surface was behaving. Just a handful of balls turned and despite being pushed on the backfoot by Jadeja's darts, Root managed a way to keep the scoreboard moving. He reached his 50 with a clip off his pads and put England in the lead with a cover drive off Ashwin. India pounced on the only error he committed. Root pushed at a ball away from his body and it led to his dismissal. Ajinkya Rahane took a lovely one-handed catch.
Woakes was a lesson in batting for the rest of the England batsmen. He rocked onto the backfoot and wasn't afraid to play shots against spin. He paddle swept Jadeja and crunched Ashwin through the covers for a couple of stunning shots. He and Hameed put up a valiant effort with a 45-run stand for the 10th wicket before Shami made inroads.
He woke up Woakes with a bouncer that hit him on the helmet, knocking off the protective padding on the back of it. That seemed to have caught the batsman off guard and he gloved the next ball, also a bouncer to Parthiv. Rashid then fell two balls later, pulling another short one to the fielder at deep fine leg.
Hameed, whose strike rate was 17.20 before lunch - he had taken 19 balls to get off the mark and 111 for his first boundary - recognised the need to make hay while the tail wagged, and collected four impressive boundaries, using the slog sweep to good effect. The effort however couldn't last long as India ran out James Anderson giving them a rather easy target to get.
Brief scores: India 417 and 104/2 (Parthiv Patel 67*) beat England 238 all out (Joe Root 78; R Ashwin 3/81) and 283 all out .(TOI)
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