England on Monday broke a 28-year-oldjinx by achieving a historic Test series win on Indian soil, leaving the hosts embarrassed with a 2-1 verdict in their favour after the fourth and final match ended in a draw in Nagpur. The last time an English side had defeated India in their own den was way back in 1984-85, under the captaincy of David Gower.
The day belonged to centurions Jonathan Trott (147) and Ian Bell’s unbeaten 116 even as the story remained the same for a hapless India who toiled without much success before the match was called off on the final day with England scoring 352 for four.
The hosts needed to take quick wickets to entertain hopes of a win but that did not happen as Trott and Bell batted off the first session to ensure the series triumph for the hosts.
The English players broke into wild celebrations the moment the two sides mutually agreed to a draw at the Green Park stadium. There was a feeling of bonhomie and the tourists hugged each other even as gloom descended on the Indian dressing room.
Bell and debutant Joe Root (20) were at the crease when the stumps were drawn for the final time in the series. Scorecard
It was a remarkable turnaround from the visitors after the humiliating defeat in the series opener in Ahmedabad a month ago.
England staged a strong comeback in the next match in Mumbai where the hosts were crushed by 10 wickets, and the script was pretty similar in Kolkata — the venue for the third Test — where the visitors cruised to a seven-wicket victory at the Eden Gardens.
This is also the first time in the last eight years that India have suffered a Test series defeat at home. Australia beat India 2-1 in 2004-05.
Trott made an obdurate 143 in 406 minutes, hitting 18 fours, while Bell was equally tenacious in making an unbeaten 116 in 383 minutes as the duo dashed the hosts’ hopes of a series-levelling win with their 208-run fourth-wicket partnership.
For India, Ravichandran Ashwin took two for 99 while Pragyan Ojha and Ravindra Jadeja picked up a wicket apiece.
The visitors had made 330 in the first innings and the hosts had replied with 326 for nine declared.
Incidentally, just like Alastair Cook and his men have done in this rubber, Gower’s outfit too had rebounded after losing the opening Test.
After trailing 1-2 it became a formidable task for India ahead of series decider.
India had a whiff of a chance when they reduced England to 139 for five on the first day, but did not tighten the noose as Root (73) and wicketkeeper Matt Prior (57) led the tourists’ revival with a partnership of 103.
And after managing to restrict England to 330, the Indian batting was rocked by the fiery three-wicket burst from James Anderson.
Virat Kohli and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni led the fightback on day three with a stand of 198.
After conceding a small lead of four runs, India once again allowed England to escape after having them at a shaky 94 for three yesterday when Trott and Bell joined hands to frustrate the Indian attack for more than five hours.
Under Dhoni, the hosts have also suffered their third defeat in four Test rubbers -? the 2-0 win over New Zealand in August being the saving grace after the successive 0-4 whitewashes against England and Australia away from home.
The 31-year-old Trott was out caught at leg slip after scoring his eighth Test ton.
The duo of Trott and Bell inched towards the record fourth wicket partnership of 214 between Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood, achieved in Chennai on their previous visit in 2008, before falling short by six runs.
India had one clear chance of breaking the partnership before it actually ended but Virender Sehwag, at slip, failed to latch on to an offer from Bell late in the second session.
It was the first ever draw at this stadium in four games, and the 47th in 110 Tests between the two rivals.
The tourists, who added 79 runs in 31 overs in the pre-lunch session, put on 70 in 29 overs in the second to place themselves well in sight of securing their fifth triumph in 14 attempts in this country dating back to 1932.
Trott and the 30-year-old Bell frustrated the home bowlers from the moment England resumed at their overnight score of 161 for three.
Unbeaten on 66 and 24 respectively last evening, Trott and Bell moved on to 106 and 61 by lunch, and continued to grind the toothless Indian attack in the second session.
The hosts became lethargic as the day progressed. They seemed to be just going through the motion till the the match was called off.
To start with, the visitors were positive in their approach with Bell, in particular, playing some superb drives and a glorious pull off Ishant Sharma.
Bell was initially the more aggressive of the two in the fourth-wicket stand.
Trott was also on the lookout for runs as the innings’ 200 came 50 minutes into the day’s play in the 94th over.
The first hour of play produced 45 runs in 18 overs as the two batsmen looked absolutely at ease against all the home team bowlers.
Bell on-drove Ashwin to reach his 35th Test 50 in 177 minutes and 130 balls, which included nine fluently struck fours.
Growing in confidence he hit a six, too, besides 13 fours as he completed his hundred with a three to long leg in 368 minutes and off 293 balls.
Trott, who had survived a confident appeal from the Indians for a catch off Ishant yesterday, had earlier sauntered to his 100 with an on-driven four off Piyush Chawla. It came in 278 minutes and off 232 balls.
Senior India batsman Sachin Tendulkar was off the field in the last two sessions after going into the dressing room midway through the first.