India have clinched an ultimately comfortable victory over England in the fourth Test match at The Oval, taking a 2-1 series lead after their hosts collapsed from 2-141 to 6-147 midway through the fifth and final day.
That torpedoed England’s hopes of achieving a famous victory and shortly after tea on Monday India wrapped up a 157-run success.
England had been set 368 to win, which would have been a national record for a fourth-innings chase eclipsing the 9-362 made against Australia at Headingley two years ago.
They had built a decent platform at 0-77 overnight and with Rory Burns making 50 went to lunch still in contention at 2-131.
But ten runs later Haseeb Hameed, who had dug in to score 63, was bowled by a ball pitched into the rough by Ravi Jadeja.
A clatter of wickets followed as England collapsed. Ollie Pope was bowled off his pads by Jasprit Bumrah for two, the seamer, bowling superbly with the old ball, following up by dismissing Jonny Bairstow, yorked for nought. Moeen Ali then fell to Jadeja for another duck, the 43rd suffered by England this calendar year.
That left England fighting only to save the game. Their last hope of that went when captain Joe Root chopped on for 36 at 7-182.
It did not take India long to wrap up the innings, Umesh Yadav working through the tail to pick up 3-60 while Bumrah took 2-27 off 22 overs.
Jadeja and Shardul Thakur also claimed a pair of wickets apiece as England were dismissed for 210.
“It was unbelievable,” Virat Kohli, India’s captain, told BBC Radio. “We love being written off and I think a lot of people after [England won at] Leeds said, ‘will India be able to come back?’
“But we’ve shown time and time again that we are a top side and we have been at the top for a while now, and that’s because of the belief and the passion that we have in this group. This win is as special as [the win at] Lord’s, if not more.”
Joe Root, England captain, said: “It’s frustrating. All three results were on the table. I thought we set a platform to go on and win the game. It was a brilliant spell of bowling that bust it open for India.
“We’ve got to look at the whole game. Our catching has to improve. We’ll do some learning. The good thing is we don’t have to long to dwell on it. We’ll be right up for it again when we get to Old Trafford.”
The final Test starts at the Manchester venue on Friday.