Kolkata, Dec 9: A listless India succumbed to their second successive humiliating defeat on home soil as England overcame a few hiccups to clinch the third cricket Test with an emphatic seven-wicket victory and take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four match series in Kolkata on Sunday.
Needing 41 runs to win the match after dismissing India for 247 in the second innings, the visitors lost three quick wickets to add a tinge of excitement to an otherwise lop-sided contest before cruising home with more than two sessions to spare.
Captain Alastair Cook (1), Jonathan Trott (3) and Kevin Pietersen (0) were out cheaply but Ian Bell (28 not out) held his nerve to take the team to the victory target at the Eden Gardens.
Bell took a single off R Ashwin to bring about England’s moment of triumph, triggering of scenes of celebrations in the dressing room as the players hugged each other and took a round of the stadium.
With another resounding victory, England kept themselves on course for their first series win on Indian soil in 28 years since David Gower-led team won a series 2-1 in the 1984-85 series.
Though the Indian bowlers took three wickets in the second innings, they looked completely ineffective in the first innings unlike the English bowlers who exploited the conditions far better.
After the humiliating 10-wicket defeat in Mumbai, the hosts once again seemed clueless in their own den with neither batting nor bowling clicking, raising questions on whether some players need to be changed.
The two teams will now travel to Nagpur for the fourth and final cricket Test beginning December 13. England just need a draw to record a historic series triumph while India have no option but to win to level the series and save the blushes of a seires defeat in their own den.