Following a convincing victory in the second Test at Vizag, the Indian team arrived in Mohali in buoyant mood. On the other hand, England were under immense pressure as another defeat would virtually put them out of contention for the series.
Their skipper Alastair Cook kicked off things in a promising fashion by calling correctly at the toss. However, the visitors could not capitalise on the advantage which meant they had to play catch up right throughout the match. Armed with a dominant first-innings performance, India maintained their intensity to complete a comprehensive 8-wicket triumph.
Let us take a close look at who contributed what to help India take a sturdy 2-0 lead.
Ravindra Jadeja – 8.5
Despite possessing a commendable first-class record with the bat, Jadeja has not been able to deliver consistently from the lower order. Whilst he did play a few handy knocks, his indecisive footwork and indiscreet shot selection has often let him down at the international level.
But, the tide seemed to slowly shift in Mohali when the left-hander took the game out of England’s reach with a sensible 170-ball 90. With the ball, Jadeja was as steady as ever and his knack for getting rid of well-set batsmen made India’s task that much easier.
Mohammed Shami – 8.5
Despite the fielders not backing him up properly, Shami did not lose heart and kept persisting relentlessly. Pushing the batsmen back with his slippery pace, he ended the first innings as the pick of India’s bowlers. His seething spell on day four hastened England’s end in the second innings and made Ian Botham do the unthinkable – compare an Indian fast bowler to the legendary Malcolm Marshall.
Ravichandran Ashwin – 8
Ashwin had quite an eventful start to the match as a horror drop was followed with the wicket of Cook in his first delivery. He enhanced his credentials of being a reliable all-rounder by forming valuable partnerships with Kohli and Jadeja. More importantly, his mystic spell in the post-tea session on day three played a major role in sending England into a downward spiral.
Jayant Yadav – 8
Displaying a sense of awareness defying his experience at the international level, Jayant batted with authority to swell India's first-innings lead. In his stronger suit, he showed signs of completing the new spin troika by picking up crucial scalps in both innings.
Parthiv Patel – 7.5
Returning to the Test side after more than eight years, Parthiv did not do his reputation any harm by taking the plunge without any obvious discomfort. Although there were a couple of drops interspersed with the few stunning grabs, his glovework passed muster. The left-hander also set the ball rolling with valuable knocks in both innings from the top of the order.
Umesh Yadav – 7
The strapping Vidarbha pacer inflicted an injury on young Haseeb Hameed by generating lifting bounce on a pitch which did not have too much assistance for him. The delivery to breach Chris Woakes’ defence in the first innings was a thing of beauty. Yadav’s pace partnership with Shami has raised hopes of India finally stepping outside the subcontinent with a well-balanced bowling attack.
Virat Kohli – 6.5
Kohli’s feisty banter with Ben Stokes garnered more attention than his batting or captaincy. Apart from following the ball during various stages of the game, his field placements were extremely meticulous. Though he was primed for an impactful knock in the first innings, a momentary lapse in concentration made him pay the price.
Cheteshwar Pujara – 6
Currently India’s best batsman at home, Pujara looked set to build on his golden run with another substantial score. Instead, he indirectly initiated a mini-collapse by playing an uncharacteristic shot right after tea on the second day.
Karun Nair – 5
After spending considerable time on the sidelines, Nair finally got the chance to make his Test debut when KL Rahul's injury woes continued. What should have been a memorable moment ended in a whimper as the 24-year-old was left high and dry by skipper Kohli.
Ajinkya Rahane – 4
Rahane's indifferent form in the series extended to this game as well as a six-ball duck compounded his woes. But, he did produce a moment of magic at first slip to help his team see the back of Joe Root in the second innings.
Murali Vijay – 3
Usually, an unflappable presence at the top of the order, Vijay’s ability to handle the short ball was brought under immense scrutiny by England’s new-ball bowlers. Seeing as the next match will be held in Mumbai where seamers get good carry, he needs to get back into his groove quickly.