Veteran England pacer James Anderson was sensational for the visitors, sending back Shubman Gill, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant in a brilliant spell in the first session of Day 5 in Chennai. India could never recover from the body blows, and swiftly succumbed to defeat.
Speaking after the end of the match, England skipper Joe Root was full of praise for Anderson. Root said, “The way he (Anderson) goes about things, challenging himself constantly and getting better all the time even at 38. He's a great role model to the rest of the group. His skill level is right up there with anyone we've ever seen.
Root went on to hail the entire bowling unit for claiming 20 Indian wickets against a strong batting line-up in conditions alien to most. While Jofra Archer has played in the IPL, Dom Bess and Jack Leach do not have much experience of Indian conditions.
The England captain added, “Crucial toss but from that point we had to follow through and make the most of a very good wicket. We did that very well. To take 20 wickets in alien conditions is a brilliant job from the bowlers.”
Defending England’s decision to not enforce the follow-on despite gaining a massive first-innings lead, the England skipper explained, “The idea was to get to 400 and declare and it didn't materialise like that. The most important thing was to take the Indian win out of the equation and we could just focus on taking the wickets. I think the guys handled the pressure well and looking forward to the rest of the series.”
Root himself was named man of the match for his 218 in his 100th Test. The second Test of the series will begin on February 13, and will also be played in Chennai.
--By A Cricket Correspondent