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India v England: Ravichandran Ashwin spins hosts to huge victory inside three days



England’s tour of India ended in woeful fashion as some spineless top-order batting resulted in a massive defeat inside three days in the fifth Test in Dharamsala.

Needing 259 to make the home side bat again, England were bundled out for 195 to lose by an innings and 64 runs and hand India a 4-1 series victory.

That margin would have been even larger had it not been for Joe Root’s 84. England were 113-6 only for Root to coax runs from the tail when the contest was effectively over.

The inept batting overshadowed the early morning achievement of James Anderson, who had Kuldeep Yadav caught behind to become the first pace bowler to reach 700 Test wickets.

With Shoaib Bashir completing his second five-wicket haul of the series, India were bowled out for 477. In blameless conditions, England’s minimum requirement was to drag the match into a fourth day.

Instead they folded to off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who marked his 100th Test with a mesmerising 5-77.

Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope played horrendous strokes, Zak Crawley turned to leg slip, Ben Stokes’ defence was flimsy and Ben Foakes was bowled slogging. In between, Jonny Bairstow belted 39 off 31 balls before he was pinned by Kuldeep.

At least Root showed some stomach for the fight, but could not prevent a one-sided drubbing inside eight sessions of play.

While this is England’s first series defeat under Stokes, this loss is their seventh in 12 Tests and ends a poor winter across formats that also included a meek defence of the 50-over World Cup.

A quite different England team will turn attention to defending the T20 World Cup in June, with the next Test coming against West Indies at Lord’s in July.

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