England fall short as India guarantee series win with victory in Ranchi

England’s dream of a Dharamshala decider was dashed despite a defiant bowling display as India overcame a top-order wobble to get over the line in Ranchi and guarantee a Test series win.

Joe Root and Tom Hartley winkled out Yashasvi Jaiswal and Rohit Sharma respectively after an 84-run opening stand before Shoaib Bashir’s three-wicket haul left India on 120 for five in pursuit of 192.

On a turning pitch with uneven bounce, a daring heist was on but an unbroken 72 from Shubman Gill and Dhruv Jurel got India home by five wickets to hand England a first series loss in the ‘Bazball’ era.

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England’s players celebrate the wicket of India’s Sarfaraz Khan, second right on the fourth day of the fourth Test in Ranchi (Ajit Solanki/AP).

The tourists will ultimately rue disintegrating from 110 for three to 145 all out which left India with a target below 200, with Rohit’s side advancing to 40 without loss in eight overs the previous evening.

India failed to chase 231 in Hyderabad and the dismissals of Jaiswal, the standout batter of the series, for 37 and Rohit for 55 set the hares running before Bashir then snared Ravindra Jadeja and Sarfaraz Khan with successive deliveries just after lunch on day four.

But Gill held his nerve expertly to anchor the chase, finishing on an unbeaten 52, while Jurel followed up his first-innings 90 in just his second Test with an instrumental 39 not out as India went 3-1 up in the five-match series.

Bashir was bullish about England’s prospects of an unlikely victory on Sunday evening and setting up a deciding contest at 2-2 for the first time since 1995, insisting “we’ve got a chance to be heroes”.

There was little to crow about early on as India were initially unflustered, with Rohit’s lofted flick for six off James Anderson bringing up the team 50 and drawing an admiring nod from Ben Stokes, and the hosts were ticking along at more than five an over when Jaiswal took successive fours off Bashir.

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India’s Shubman Gill, and Dhruv Jurel congratulate each other after India won the fourth Test by five wickets to take an unassailable 3-1 series lead (Ajit Solanki/AP).

But Stokes’ decision to give Root an over paid dividends as the Yorkshireman tossed up his third ball and Jaiswal miscued a loose drive to backward point, where Anderson dived forward to take a low catch.

Rohit motioned to Jaiswal as he departed, clearly unhappy with his junior partner at the end of an 84-run opening stand, a moment which was seized upon by Stokes and England. Bashir and Hartley offered control and Stokes’ proactive fields strangled the scoring rate to barely a crawl.

Rohit moved past his fifty but was outfoxed by Hartley soon after, advancing down the pitch and seemingly beaten on the outside edge before being stumped by the lightning fast hands of Ben Foakes – with replays subsequently detecting a thin nick.

The manner of dismissal was irrelevant to England as they celebrated animatedly, especially Stokes, and they were cock-a-hoop seven balls later when the out-of-form Rajat Patidar was excellently caught bat-pad off Bashir by a leaping Ollie Pope.

When Ravindra Jadeja carelessly swiped a full toss from Bashir’s first ball after lunch to midwicket and Sarfaraz Khan inside edged the next delivery to backward short-leg, with England successfully overturning the original not out decision, India had lost five wickets for 36 runs in 21 overs.

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India’s captain Rohit Sharma, right is stumped out by England wicketkeeper Ben Foakes (Ajit Solanki/AP)

For the first time since a third-innings collapse the previous evening, England were arguably slight favourites even if Jurel survived Bashir’s hat-trick ball with a nervy inside edge into a vacant area.

But with 72 required, Gill found a capable foil in Jurel and the pair were able to blunt Bashir and Hartley, regularly rotating the strike-rate and taking no unnecessary risks.

Jurel, who led India’s recovery from 177 for seven in their first innings in response to England’s 353, took advantage of Bashir drifting short and wide by crashing the home side’s first four in 31 overs.

Any flicker of hope was extinguished by the time Gill thrashed his first boundary off his 120th delivery by taking Bashir the distance while he hammered another six off the spinner two balls later to move to a half-century.

Jurel pulled Hartley unconvincingly for four and then hit the winning runs with a tickle off his pads for a couple of runs as India secured a 17th consecutive series win at home – a run dating back to 2012.