England were on the wrong end of cricketing carnage in Ahmedabad as they succumbed to the embarrassment of a two-day defeat by India.
When Rohit Sharma clubbed the winning six to seal a 10-wicket home win under lights it ended a dizzying day of activity that added up to a hopelessly uneven contest between bat and pink ball but also a deserved victor.
Two-day finishes are rare for a reason – there have been only six others in the last 75 years – and it took a mixture of fine bowling, deeply flawed batting and a pitch unsuitable for long-form matches to add to that list.
To dismiss any of the three factors would be myopic and unhelpful, but while 17 wickets in the first two sessions made for high octane entertainment it was a mostly unedifying spectacle.
England have been frustrated by the surfaces and some of the umpiring but could hardly complain about the result having lost all 20 wickets for 193 runs and lasted less than 80 overs across two innings.
After one session things had looked very different for the tourists, when a hot streak of seven for 31 saw them dismiss India for 145 – just 33 in front.
It had taken a staggering haul of five for eight from Joe Root’s part-time spin to create that unexpected note of optimism, but the same conditions which had turned the skipper’s occasional off-breaks into unplayable hand grenades soon left England batsmen on the canvas at 81 all out.
England miss out on Championship final
England needed to win the series 3-1 if they were to stay in contention for a place in the World Test Championship final on home turf later this summer. With New Zealand already guaranteed to take the field in the inaugural showpiece, the race is now between India and Australia – with the latter not due to play again.
Tweet of the day
Former England captain Michael Vaughan got slightly ahead of himself after the current side’s success with the ball.
Here two-day, gone tomorrow
Eng bt WI by an innings and 39 runs (Headingley, 2000)
Aus bt Pak by an innings and 198 runs (Sharjah, 2002)
SA bt Zim by an innings and 21 runs (Cape Town, 2005)
NZ bt Zim by an innings and 294 (Harare, 2005)
SA bt Zim by an innings and 120 (Port Elizabeth, 2017)
Ind bt Afg by an innings and 262 (Bengaluru, 2018)