India pulled the curtains down on England’s winter of discontent in the manner befitting their dominance as the hosts clinched the five-match series 4-0 with an innings and 75-run victory in the fifth and final cricket Test here on Tuesday.
With this win, India also ended the year as number 1 team in International Test rankings.
Spinner Ravindra Jadeja was the hero of the day as he returned exceptional figures of 7/48 to spell doom for England.
Jadeja’s effort deserves special mention as he shone on a pitch where there were no demons. However, triple-centurion Karun Nair walked away with the Man of the Match award for his unbeaten 303-run knock that set the tone for the victory.
In the process of winning their ninth match of the year to stretch an unbeaten run to 18, the hosts wrote and rewrote a plethora of records, including notching up their biggest-ever series victory over England.
Their previous best was the 3-0 verdict under Mohammed Azharuddin’s captaincy in 1992-93.
Having made a sedate start to the day, England made a hash of it after tea as they lost their last six wickets for a mere 15 runs.
England were staring down the barrel at 200 for eight, with Jadeja doing the bulk of damage in an exceptional display of slow bowling on a pitch that was one of the flattest in recent times.
The left-arm spinner, who also pulled off a brilliant catch earlier in the day, triggered the English slide when he lured Moeen Ali into playing a casual shot after the tea break.
From 192 for four, the scoreline suddenly read 200 for eight, with plenty of overs left for Indian bowlers to wrap up the tail.
It soon became 207 for nine as the inevitable dawned on England and the end came when the last line of defence, Jake Ball, was foxed by Jadeja for a three-ball duck.
Celebration erupted in the stands at the M A Chidambaram Stadium, and the Indian players also broke into wild celebrations following the team’s fifth successive Test series win since September last year. The win also made it India’s longest unbeaten run in Test cricket, surpassing the previous best of 17 wins between 198-87.
In front of the plenty of heads totting the stands, the Indian players went on a lap of honour.
A pall of gloom, however, descended on the English camp, while the Indians’ joy knew no bounds.
(With PTI inputs)