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17-Dec-2012 10:02:00 GMT
India v England, 4th Test, Nagpur, 5th day

England Clinch Series After 28 years

Nagpur: England made Indian bowlers toil on the last day to secure a draw in the final Test in Nagpur and clinch the series 2-1, their first in 28 years.

This is the first Test series loss for India at home in eight years. Their previous loss was in 2004-05 against Australia. A lot of introspection will probably be done. A few heads could roll too. The loss at home will hurt them a lot more than the infamous 0-8 overseas.

Resuming from the overnight score of 161/3, England had no problem facing the toothless Indian attack that managed to get just one wicket in the entire day at the VCA stadium.

Jonathan Trott (143) hit his eighth hundred before being dismissed late in the second session, while Ian Bell made 116 as England declared their second innings at 352/4, leading India by 356 runs.

The 31-year-old Trott was finally dismissed for 143, caught at leg slip by Virat Kohli when he turned off R Ashwin straight to the fielder, after a marathon stay of 406 minutes. He struck 18 fours in his 310-ball essay.

The visitors were ahead by four runs in the first innings after making 330 while India had replied with 326 for 9 declared.

The fourth wicket duo, which combined forces late yesterday with England at 94 for 3 following the cheap fall of star batsman Kevin Pietersen, put on a partnership of 208 runs in 474 balls to seal India's faint hopes of forcing a series-levelling victory on the lifeless track.

The duo slowly crept towards the record fourth wicket partnership of 214 between Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood set up at Chennai on their previous visit to India in 2008 before falling short by six runs.

They, however, went past the 191-run stand between Peter Parfitt and Barry Knight in 1964 at Kanpur and the 206 stand between Ken Barrington and Ted Dexter in 1961 at the same Green Park ground -- the second and third highest for the wicket by England in India.

At tea, Bell, who has faced 256 balls, and new batsman Joe Root (7) were the not out batsmen at the crease.

India had one clear chance of breaking the partnership before it actually ended but Virender Sehwag, at slip, took evasive action instead of trying to catch Bell on 75 late in the second session when the batsman cut Piyush Chawla.

But for the formalities remaining, post-tea, England have as good as sealed their first Test series victory in India in 28 years.

This would be their first since David Gower's 1984-85 tourists had beaten the home team 2-1.

Incidentally, just like Alastair Cook and his men have done in this rubber, Gower's outfit too rebounded after losing the opening Test.

In the current rubber, England lost the Ahmedabad Test before bouncing back to square the series at Mumbai and then clinch an unassailable 2-1 lead at Kolkata.

The hosts, energetic in the first hour when they bowled 18 overs, became lethargic later as the Trott and bell refused to budge and defied all the bowlers. They seemed to be just going through the motion till the umpires call an end to the match in the last session.

In the morning, the visitors, in contrast to the run-crawl yesterday, were a lot more positive in their approach with Bell, in particular, playing some superb carpet drives and a glorious pull shot off Ishant Sharma on the wicket of low bounce.

Brief scores
330 (Pietersen 73, Root 73, Prior 57, Swann 56, Chawla 4-69) and 352 for 4 (Trott 143, Bell 116*)
India 326 for 9 dec (Kohli 103, Dhoni 99, Anderson 4-81)
Result Match drawn
MOM James Anderson (England)
Man of the series Alastair Cook (England)

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