Southampton, Jul 31 : A listless India crashed to a humiliating 266-run defeat against England in the third cricket Test after an abject batting surrender allowed the hosts to level the five-match series 1-1 here today. Needing to bat out the whole day with six wickets in hand in order to save the match, Indian batting crumbled in the first session itself getting bundled out for a meagre 178 in 66.4 overs in a completely lopsided contest at the Ageas Bowl.
It was one of the biggest defeats for India in terms of runs on English soil but not their worst, having lost a Test match by a mammoth 319 runs in Nottingham during the last tour in 2011. For England, the victory meant an end to a winless streak of 10 Test matches starting from the Ashes Down Under. To add insult to the injury, it was part-time off-spinner Moeen Ali, who bamboozled the lower-oder batsmen with his career-best haul of 6 for 67 in 20.4 overs.
Pacer Jimmy Anderson provided the first breakthrough in the morning when he had Rohit Sharma (6) nibbling at an away-going delivery to be caught by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (6) couldn’t replicate the resilience of the first innings as he was again a victim of an outswinger, edging to the keeper. While Ajinkya Rahane waged a lone battle at the other end, he could do little as he saw wickets falling like nine pins at the other end.
Moeen, then got into the action as he got the ball to turn and jump from the rough as well as bowling the classical off-breaks. He cleaned up Ravindra Jadeja (15) with a delivery that pitched on the rough and came in to hit the off-stump. Bhuvneshwar Kumar got out to a bat-pad catch with a delivery that spun in after pitching. His maiden ‘five-for’ was completed when a typical off-break cleaned up Mohammed Shami.
Rahane duly got his second half-century of the match hitting a brilliant square drive off Chris Woakes with No 11 Pankaj Singh for company. Pankaj was finally cleaned up by Moeen for his sixth scalp as he played inside the line. The two teams will now travel to Manchester for the fourth cricket Test to be played from August 7 at the Old Trafford.