Rahul, Pant batted exceptionally well: Joe
James Anderson overtakes Glenn McGrath as the most successful pacer in Test cricket
- Published 12.09.18
Calcutta/London: India lost the fifth and final Test against England by 118 runs here Tuesday, despite heroic resistance from KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, bringing the curtains down on a tour, which started as a golden opportunity but ended in a saga of disappointments.
A mediocre England team with a fragile batting line-up won the series by a comprehensive 4-1 margin after India were bowled out for 345 in pursuit of mammoth target of 464.
England captain Joe Root termed it as a very tough series but at the same time praised his team. "Very gratifying, a very tough series... India played some exceptional cricket and some special stuff from our guys as well. It really shows Test cricket is in a special place," Root said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
"We're growing all the time as a team, we have got a lot learning to do, but to perform as we have in this series is great," he added.
Speaking on the Rahul-Pant stand, which frustrated England for a long time, Root said: "Those two guys batted exceptionally well, got them in a position where every result was possible. Credit to India for playing in that manner and credit to our lads for standing up at the end there."
On Alastair Cook, for whom this Test was the last international match, Root said: "Alastair has been an exceptional player for such a long period of time, a huge part of our dressing room... He sets the standard and his reception in this game has been fitting."
Also a highlight of the Test was James Anderson, whose five wickets in the match made him the most successful in history of Test cricket. Anderson now has 564 scalps, one more than Aussie legend Glenn McGrath. On the overall list of Test wicket-takers, Anderson is on the fourth spot.
Saluting Anderson, Root said: "To achieve what Jimmy has achieved to date has been unbelievable, and the scary thing is he believes he's got a couple of years left... In my opinion, he's bowling the best he's ever been."
Making amends for a below-par showing in the preceding Tests, Rahul (149 off 224 balls) and Pant (114 off 146 balls) sang the redemption song with attractive centuries to raise visions of an improbable victory before Adil Rashid (2/63) dashed their hopes with twin blows.
Rashid bowled a prodigious leg-break that pitched on the rough and clipped Rahul's off-bail and in his next over, Pant tried to hoick him for his fifth six only to be caught by Moeen Ali.
Once the 204-run sixth wicket stand ended, India tried to hang on for a respectable draw but it was of no avail.
Root took the second new ball and Sam Curran (2/23) promptly delivered by polishing off the tail with Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja being removed in quick succession.
Fittingly, it was Anderson (3/45) who castled Mohammed Shami to end the match and also surpass McGrath.
It couldn't have been a more emotional farewell for Cook as he led the team off the ground amidst a thunderous standing ovation from a knowledgable Oval crowd.
However, there were a couple of times when it looked that India could at least earn a respectable draw if not a win. Rahul batted in a cavalier fashion for the first time in the series as he added 118 runs with Ajinkya Rahane (37) on a flat batting deck at the Oval.
Rahane's indiscreet sweep shot followed by Hanuma Vihari's (0) dismissal saw India reduced to 121 for five before the complexion of the game changed once again.