Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Moeen Ali shows skill and patience to deliver England a hard-earned series win

England 246 (Curran 78) and 271 (Buttler 69, Shami 4-57) beat India 283 (Pujara 132*, Moeen 5-71) and 184 (Kohli 58, Rahane 51, Moeen 4-63) by 60 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Moeen Ali was England's star turn on another gripping day of Test cricket at the Ageas Bowl, as he ended India's spirited pursuit of a victory target of 245 with a series-sealing display of patient, probing offspin.

Bowling with renewed confidence after his first-innings five-wicket haul, and with a juicy dinner-plate of rough to aim outside the right-hander's off-stump, Moeen finished with match figures of 9 for 134, having effectively sealed the contest either side of the tea interval.

Bowling significantly slower than his India counterpart, R Ashwin, who had been so notably ineffective on day three, Moeen was able to find more purchase off the pitch as a result, even though it took him until the 17th over of a previously luckless day's work before his rewards started to come in a torrent.

First, he broke India's determined fourth-wicket stand of 101 with the massive scalp of Virat Kohli for 58. Then, five overs later, he added Kohli's steadfast partner, Ajinkya Rahane, for 51. By then, he had also out-thought Rishabh Pant, caught in the deep for a cameo 18 from 12, as India slumped from a threatening 123 for 3 to 184 all out.

The end of India's challenge came in a jubilant rush for England - Ben Stokes cemented his side's post-tea dominance by removing the dangerous Hardik Pandya with his third ball after the break, before extracting a less-than-convincing lbw against Ishant Sharma to send India's birthday boy on his way, also for a duck.

Four years ago on this very same ground, Moeen had sealed England's restorative victory over India with second-innings figures of 6 for 67. Today he went one better for the match when Mohammad Shami smoked him to James Anderson at long-on, and though Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah made England wait for their glory in a long-handled alliance of 21, the contest was fittingly sealed by the young gun, Sam Curran, whose batting in both innings had been so vital to England's hopes. Ashwin wandered across his stumps and was sent on his way lbw for 25.

Like Ishant's dismissal, Ashwin's was shown on replay to have been missing leg stump, but India by then had burnt through their reviews - one of them used rather imperiously by Kohli himself, who had been caught at short leg by Alastair Cook after Moeen had clearly snagged his glove with another tweaker on off stump.

It was the pivotal moment of the day, but England by that stage had been seriously aggrieved by a key let-off for Kohli early in his stay. On 9, he had once again propped forward to Moeen and was thumped on the front pad for a vociferous appeal. England lost their subsequent review, however, when the third umpire Joel Wilson deemed Kohli to have got an inside edge on his shot. England's collective reaction to the big screen told its own story.

Almost before the dust had settled on that moment, Kohli persuaded England to burn their second review when, on 15, he was pinned on the back leg by a massive offbreak from Moeen that kept low as well. Umpire Dharmasena, to his credit, immediately shook his head, recognising that Kohli had set himself up outside off stump to negate that very dismissal. Sure enough, replays showed he had been struck outside the line, and as Rahane rose through his own gears to match his captain's inevitable levels, India began to believe.

They were forced to find their belief in the wake of another top-order failure, however. Though England's second innings had been sawn off for the addition of 11 runs inside the first five overs, with Stuart Broad falling to the first ball of the day before Curran was run out for 46 while trying to farm the strike, their senior bowlers responded to that disappointing preamble by striking hard and early with the new ball.

Broad, bowling with predatory intent once again, sent shudders through India's dressing room by torpedoing KL Rahul with an off-stump grubber in his second over, having showcased the pitch's increasingly variable bounce with two high-kicking snorters in quick succession. James Anderson then found more sharp movement off the seam to dislodge the rock of India's first innings, Cheteshwar Pujara, for 5, and having troubled Shikhar Dhawan with a brace of lbw appeals that might have clipped leg stump, soon added India's remaining opener for 17 via a thick outside edge to gully. At 22 for 3, India were in the soup.

Kohli, however, was not about to let his resolve crumble with a shot at a series-levelling victory in his sights. Unusually in this series, his initial duel with Anderson was short-lived, as England turned quickly to the spin of Moeen (and latterly Adil Rashid, who bowled tidily for seven overs but never quite posed the same questions as his offspinning sidekick).

But that inevitable battle was rejoined in the 38th over, when Anderson returned to the fray and immediately started extracting some skilful reverse swing from the dry and now abrasive deck. Kohli was beaten on a handful of occasions as the ball exploded outside off, but latched onto a rare leg-stump half-volley to bring up his fifty from 114 balls, and continue a stunning personal series in which he has now gone past 500 runs, with a fifth Test still to come.

Rahane, at the other end, briefly got the better of Moeen, sending him into a mid-spell lull by stretching confidently forward to smother his wiles. But England, to their credit, never stopped believing that the rewards for their endeavours would come, and one ball after Cook had dropped a tough chance off Kohli at short leg, he clung onto the one that counted, to prise the opening, at 123 for 4 - the precise halfway mark of the chase - that England needed. The rest was not exactly a formality, but the belief in India's ranks had visibly drained.

"England were braver in tough situations than us," admitted Kohli in the post-match presentations. India's captain himself was unbowed after a stellar personal summer, but he will know that this series - much like the South Africa tour earlier in the year - represents a massive opportunity squandered by his world No.1 team.

India 4th innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st4S DhawanKL Rahul
2nd13S DhawanCA Pujara
3rd5S DhawanV Kohli
4th101V KohliAM Rahane
5th4AM RahaneHH Pandya
6th23AM RahaneRR Pant
7th3R AshwinAM Rahane
8th1R AshwinI Sharma
9th9R AshwinMohammed Shami
10th21R AshwinJJ Bumrah