• Sunday, December 21, 2014

Freedom in the air

India beat England by 95 runs

BBC Online
The Indian team celebrates after Ishant Sharma took the wicket of England wicketkeeper Matt Prior at Lord’s cricket ground in London on Monday, July 21, 2014 . Photo: AP
The Indian team celebrates after Ishant Sharma took the wicket of England wicketkeeper Matt Prior at Lord’s cricket ground in London on Monday, July 21, 2014 . Photo: AP

England crumbled to a 95-run defeat by India in the second Test at Lord's to extend their winless run to 10 matches and increase the pressure on captain Alastair Cook.

The hosts collapsed after lunch to a series of reckless shots and were bowled out for 223 to hand the tourists a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

Joe Root (66) and Moeen Ali (39) gave England hope with a partnership of 101 to take them to 173-4, 146 runs short of their target.

But after Moeen fell to the last ball before lunch, Matt Prior, Ben Stokes and Root were all out to pull shots in a disastrous 14 minutes of self-destruction as seamer Ishant Sharma took 7-74 - the best figures by an India bowler in England.

The match ended when James Anderson was run out by Ravindra Jadeja, whom he is charged with pushing and verbally abusing during the first Test at Trent Bridge.

It was India's first away victory in 16 Tests, a sequence dating back to 2011, and their first at Lord's since 1986.

The defeat was England's seventh in nine matches, while 10 Tests without a victory is their worst sequence since 1992-93.

The manner of defeat raised echoes of England's 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia, when their performances became increasingly ragged as the series went on.

It will also intensify the scrutiny on Cook, who is averaging 14.33 in five Tests this year and whose team have frequently squandered promising positions with bat and ball, not least when they reduced India to 145-7 on a green pitch on Thursday, only for the tourists to recover to 295.

Cook, who has scored a record 25 Test hundreds for his country, has been publicly backed by the England coaching staff, but former England captain Michael Vaughan is among the pundits to have called for his removal.

England's latest collapse was all the more galling given the hope Root and Moeen had inspired in the morning session.

After a patient first hour, Root took the attack to India with three fours off an over from Sharma to bring up his fifty off 122 balls.

But, on the stroke of lunch, Ishant fired a fierce bouncer at Moeen, who took his eye off the ball and gloved it to short leg.

What followed was little short of farcical as England fell into the most obvious of traps by taking on the short ball and picking out the men in catching positions.

First, Prior pulled Ishant straight to deep midwicket, then Stokes top-edged to the same position for his sixth duck in 10 England innings in all formats.

Root was the next to lose his head as he hooked into the hands of deep backward square leg to leave England eight down.

Stuart Broad gloved a short ball down the leg side and the collapse was complete when Anderson pushed into the off side and was comfortably run out by a direct hit from his nemesis Jadeja.

Published: 8:48 pm Monday, July 21, 2014

Last modified: 10:35 pm Monday, July 21, 2014

TAGS: England vs India Lord's Test England captain Alastair Cook India captain MS Dhoni

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