James Anderson inspired England to a famous fifth-day win over India in the first Test, paving the way for a 227-run victory with an astonishing spell of reverse swing in Chennai.
Four days of hard-earned dominance had left the tourists on the cusp of an upset against an opponent who had lost just one of their last 35 matches on home turf dating back to 2012, and Anderson’s magnificent work in the morning made it a reality.
The 38-year-old defied expectations that spin would be the only way to finish things off, dismissing Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane in an over which will go down as one of the most compelling in recent history.
Both batsman saw their off stump go cartwheeling as Anderson got the ball hooping in outrageously, and there could easily have been an lbw decision against Rahane in between
By the time he had the dangerous Rishabh Pant cheaply caught at short cover, Anderson had swung the game – quite literally – with a five-over burst of three wickets for six runs.
“It came out well, there was a bit of reverse there which was helping, the pitch was deteriorating which we knew and it was about getting as many balls as possible in the right spot and luckily I managed to do that,” Anderson said on Channel 4.
“Managed to get a bit of luck on the bounce of a few of them, it got us off to a good start for the day.
“It was huge for us, that movement in the air just helps you feel in the game all the time, the pitch wasn’t especially quick it was quite slow, so the movement makes you think you have got a chance to take a wicket with any delivery.”
Jack Leach was also a key performer, bouncing back from some damage in the first innings to claim 4-74, while Ben Stokes had the satisfaction of clean bowling India captain Kohli.
“This is my first time in India, they have got a great batting line-up and I knew the pressure which comes with it and I was really happy to take some wickets and help the boys over the line,” Leach said.
“I thought I was bowling in the IPL. It was a challenge, as a spinner you have to expect that at times but I am never going to enjoy eight overs for 80, so it is just about staying strong and the boys really helped me out.
“It was a tough evening but I just wanted to come back strong on the last two days.”
Joe Root’s side have now completed six consecutive overseas wins, including visits to South Africa and Sri Lanka, their best streak away from home since 1914.
The win takes England a step closer to reaching the inaugural World Test Championship final.
They need to win the series either 3-0 or 3-1 to bump Australia and India out of the final against New Zealand, while the hosts cannot afford to lose another match.