James Anderson took four wickets as England became the world’s number one Test side with a crushing innings and 242 run victory against India at Edgbaston here on Saturday.
England’s second successive win inside four days saw them take the third Test in emphatic fashion and gave them an unbeatable 3-0 lead in this four-match series.
It also meant they’d won this series by the two-match margin they needed to replace India at the top of the ICC’s Test Championship table. It is the first time England have occupied pole position since the table’s creation in 2003.
India were dismissed for 244 in their second innings after man-of-the-match Alastair Cook’s career-best 294 had propelled England to a massive first innings 710 for seven declared — their highest Test total in 73 years. Only Sachin Tendulkar offered any top-order resistance on Saturday with 40 before his latest quest to score an unprecedented 100th international hundred ended in unlucky fashion when he was run-out backing up.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni finished on 74 not out and shared a stand of 75 with Praveen Kumar for the eighth wicket, Kumar made 40, his Test-best score coming in just 18 balls with three sixes — all against off-spinner Graeme Swann — and five fours. But the gutsy No 9 was merely delaying the inevitable.
India resumed on 35 for one after losing Virender Sehwag for a ‘king pair’ to Anderson late on Friday. Anderson then struck twice early on Saturday to remove both Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid for their overnight scores of 14 and 18 respectively.
Dravid, caught behind, seemed uncertain as to whether he’d edged the ball but walked off without reviewing the decision. New batsman Venkatsai Laxman could only manage two before, pushing tentatively outside off-stump, he too fell to Anderson.
That meant the 29-year-old Lancastrian had taken three wickets for 16 runs in 27 balls to leave India 56 for four. Laxman’s exit gave Anderson his 237th Test wicket, one more than the late Sir Alec Bedser, also a fast-medium bowler, as he moved up into seventh place in England’s all-time list.
Suresh Raina was then lbw for 10 as he misread Swann’s arm-ball. Raina summed up India’s mental, as well as physical, tiredness by asking for a review of his dismissal even though, thanks to Indian objections to ball-tracking technology, lbw’s cannot be referred in this series.
Tendulkar, who had looked in good touch while striking eight fours, was then run-out after Dhoni drove at Swann only for the bowler to deflect the ball onto the non-striker’s stumps with the ‘Little Master’ just shy of his ground.
The fourth and final Test at The Oval starts on Thursday.