LONDON (AFP) - England inflicted yet another humiliating defeat upon India as they won the fifth and final Test at The Oval by an innings and 244 runs on Sunday to complete a 3-1 series win.
It was England’s second victory inside three days in as many matches after they thrashed India by an innings and 54 runs to win the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
India collapsed to 94 all out, an even worse effort than their meagre first innings 148, after Joe Root’s unbeaten 149 had powered England to 486 earlier on Sunday.
The only disappointment for the hosts was that spearhead seamer James Anderson was left three short of equalling Ian Botham’s England record of 383 Test wickets.
In 30 minutes’ batting before rain forced an early lunch on Sunday, India slumped to nine for two.
Murali Vijay was lbw to Anderson’s inswinger while Gautam Gambhir, who had struggled for his three, was run out by Chris Woakes’s direct hit from short midwicket going for a non-existent single.
Play re-started under sunny blue skies but both sides knew that India had lost nine wickets in under a session to seal their Old Trafford loss.
India soon saw Cheteshwar Pujara (11) edging Anderson to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
Ajinkya Rahane (four) then nicked Stuart Broad and third slip Gary Ballance, diving across Ian Bell at second slip, held a brilliant one-handed catch low to his left. It was not long before 45 for four became 46 for five.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had played a lone hand in making 82 in the tourists’ first innings.
But on Sunday he fell for a five-ball duck, inside-edging paceman Woakes onto his pad and giving a simple catch to Sam Robson at short leg.
England’s cause, if not Anderson’s, was helped when Virat Kohli, aiming legside, was caught in the slips by captain Alastair Cook off Chris Jordan for 20.
His exit meant Kohli, an undeniably talented batsman, had scored just 134 runs in the series at an average of 13.4.
Jordan then dismissed Ravichandran Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar with the aid of slip catches during a spell of four wickets for 17 runs in 19 balls that culminated with the dismissal of last man Ishant Sharma that completed England’s victory.
The all-rounder’s success meant Anderson would have to wait until at least England’s next Test – which is set to be his 100th match at this level – against the West Indies in April to draw level with Botham.
England had gone 10 Tests without a win when they suffered a 95-run defeat by India at Lord’s to go 1-0 down in this series.
But from the moment England captain Alastair Cook was dropped on 15 before making 95 in what turned out to be a 266-run win in the third Test at Southampton, their luck changed.
Earlier on Sunday, Root completed his fifth hundred in 22 Tests and second of the series, following his 154 not out in the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge after resuming on 92 not out.
He led the way as England smashed India’s attack for 101 runs in just 10.3 overs before they were all out with a commanding first-innings lead of 338 runs.
Broad made a quickfire 37, despite having his nose broken when top-edging a Varun Aaron bouncer into the gap between the peak of his helmet and the grille at Old Trafford.
But on Sunday he hooked a Sharma bouncer over long leg for six.
Root played on to Sharma on 110, but was called back after replays confirmed a no-ball.
Sharma, India’s star turn at Lord’s but sidelined from the next two matches with an ankle injury, took four for 96 in 30 overs.
Man-of-the-match Root faced just 165 balls, including 18 fours and a six.
His innings took Root’s tally for the series to 518 runs at a huge average of over 103.I