India wins the Mumbai Test and the series

Mumbai test 1
Mumbai test 3

By Kersi Meher-Homji

Accompanied by deafening cheers India convincingly defeated England by an innings to pocket the series 3-0 with the final Test to be played in Chennai.

The heroes of this facile victory were skipper Virat Kohli and spinning all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin,

After the first Test in Rajkot was drawn, India won the next three convincingly; the second at Visakhapatnam by 246 runs, the third in Mohali by eight wickets and the fourth in Mumbai by an innings and 36 runs yesterday.

After winning the toss England started the Mumbai Test promisingly totalling 400 runs with their opening batsman Keaton Jennings scoring 112 in his Test debut and middle order bats Moeen Ali (50 runs) and Jos Buttler (76) contributing handsomely.

India’s spinners took all 10 wickets; Ashwin (6-112) and Ravindra Jadeja (4-109).

Indian batsmen’s response was as strong but more daring.

England’s spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali were impressive on a turning tract but the Indian batsmen smothered the spin much better than their English counterparts.

So much so that they amassed 631 and led by 231 runs. Opening batsman Murali Vijay (136 with three sixes) and double centurion Kohli added 116 for the third wicket. India lost their seventh wicket for 364 runs, still 36 behind England’s total. And we thought we had a thrilling match on our hands as India had to bat on the final day in the second innings.

Mumbai test 2

But Kohli was still there and he added a further 241 runs for the eighth wicket with Jayant Yadav, selected as a spinner and playing only his third Test. Kohli (235) and Jayant (104) batted majestically as if saying, “Where is the spin menace?”

Trailing by 231 runs England’s reply was weak, losing opener Jennings for a duck. He became the fourth batsman to score a century and a duck in his Test debut. The others were India’s GR Viswanath (0 and 137 v. Australia, 1969), South Africa’s Andrew Hudson (163 and 0 v. West Indies, 1992) and Pakistan’s Mohammad Wasim (0 and 109 v. New Zealand, 1996).

It seemed England would lose by an innings on day-4 but Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow batted aggressively and the Test went on the final day. Disappointingly, they lost the last four wickets for only 13 runs – all to the spin variations by Ashwin – and India was victorious by an innings. Ashwin had captured 6-55 to have a magnificent match haul of 12-167.

Man of the Match Kohli has scored most runs in the series, 640 runs at an astonishing average of 128.00 with two centuries and two fifties. No one else from either side has managed to reach 400 runs in the series.

Interestingly, Kohli (235) had outscored 11 Englishmen (195 all out) in the second innings in Mumbai. He is only the second Indian to score more than 600 runs in a Test series in India. The other Indian to do so is Sunil Gavaskar; 732 runs (average 91.50, with one double century, three centuries and a fifty) against the West Indies in 1978-79. With one Test to go, it is possible that Kohli may break Gavaskar’s series record.

Kohli, aged only 28, has set many milestones during the series:

  • Reached his 1000th run in Tests in the calendar year 2016. He has scored 1200 runs in 11 Tests so far in 2016 with three double centuries and a century. He can add to his tally in the final Test against a dispirited England.
  • Reached his 4000th run in his 52nd Test match. So far he has scored 4194 runs at an average of 50.53 with 15 centuries and 14 fifties.
  • Kohli is the only Indian to score three double centuries as India’s captain, remarkably all three in 2016; 235 runs in the just concluded Mumbai Test, 211 v. New Zealand at Indore in October and 200 v. West Indies at North Sound in Antigua in July.
  • The four other Indians to make a double century as captains are Nawab of Pataudi (203 not out v. England at Delhi in February 1964), Sunil Gavaskar (205 v. West Indies at Mumbai in December 1978), Sachin Tendulkar (217 v. New Zealand at Ahmedabad in October 1999) and MS Dhoni (224 v. Australia at Chennai in February 2013).
  • In 52 Tests Kohli has scored 4194 runs (highest score 235) at an average of 50.53 and a Strike Rate of 54.90, hitting 15 centuries, 14 fifties and 11 sixes.

 

He is ranked no.3 batsman in Tests after Australia’s Steven Smith and England’s Joe Root. I predict that after the series against England is completed he may rise to no. 1 spot.

India is already ranked no. 1 in Tests. So is Ashwin, ranked no. 1 Test bowler and no. 1 Test all-rounder.

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