In what has become yet another historical victory, India has defeated England in the fourth and final Test match, and apart from winning the series by 3-1, the Virat Kohli-led team had confirmed its entry into the Final of the World Test Championship that will be played at Lord's, London in June. In the final, Indian will be playing against New Zealand.
England is currently on the Indian tour where the visitors have camped for four Tests, five T20s, and three ODIs. Both the teams have begun the battle from the Test series and while India leads the series with 2-1 in three matches, the fourth and final Test match had begun on Thursday at Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad, which is the world's largest cricket stadium on the scale of occupancy. While it was a must-win match for England to level the series, it was also a must-win match for India to enter the finals of the World Test Championship.
The visitors had won the toss and elected to bat first but the English batting line-up was stumbled after getting caught up in the spin of Indian bowlers. In the first innings, England was bowled out for 205 runs with Ashwin taking three wickets and Axar taking four wickets on the Indian side. The visitors were bowled out on the first day and India began its innings to take the lead. Starting with the flawed opening, India slowly but steadily built momentum to put a big lead.
With the splendid batting delivery of Rishabh Pant (101 runs off 118 balls) and Washington Sundar (96 runs off 174 balls), India brought the game under its control. The host was bowled out for 365 runs with the lead of 160 runs at the end of day two. England began its 2nd innings on day three on Saturday but the visitors couldn't take the commanding position from India as the dominance of Indian spinners had given a huge blow to England.
England had apparently struggled to reduce the lead but spinners Ashwin and Axar had applied strong brakes on the visitors. Apart from Dan Lawrence (50 runs off 95 balls) and Joe Root (30 runs off 72 balls), the rest of the England players didn't put out a good show to rescue the team. Eventually, England was bowled out for 135 runs following which India recorded a historical victory by an innings and 25 runs, through which the host had won the series by 3-1.
On the Indian side, Ashwin and Axar had got five wickets each in restricting England to 135 runs, and in total, Ashwin has got eight wickets while Axar has bagged nine wickets in the fourth and final match. With the remarkable victory, India has now topped the table of the ICC Test Cricket Ratings, and the victory has taken India into the final of the World Test Championship, which will be played at Lord's London in June.
Ashwin was named as the Player of the series for his brilliant bat and ball show while Rishabh Pant was named as the Player of the match. Following the victory, Kohli addressed the post-match presentation during which he said, "The comeback in Chennai pleased me the most. The first game was an aberration and England outplayed us. The toss played a crucial role and the bowlers weren't in the contest. We bowled and fielded with more intensity and so the comeback was very heartening. Our bench strength is extremely strong and that's a good sign for the Indian cricket."
"Every team in international cricket is a quality side and we need to work hard to beat them, even at home. Keeping that intensity going is most important and is the hallmark of our team. Rohit's knock was the defining moment in Chennai and Ashwin has been our most bankable player over the years so they have been our best players this series. Now we can accept that the WTC final, which was a distraction in New Zealand in 2020, but now it's reality", Kohli added, as this victory is not just a victory but it means a new beginning of the Indian cricket team in the test cricket. Through this one special victory, India had attained many feats of defeating England and winning the series, becoming the first team to lift the trophy at the world's largest cricket ground, elevated to first place in the ICC ratings, and confirmed its place at the Finals of the World's Test championship.