England fell short in their attempt to pull off a second miracle in successive weeks when they were bowled out for 292 on Monday morning to lose the second Test by 106 runs.
England started the fourth day here needing another 332 to reach their target of 399 and make history after pulling off an extraordinary win in the first Test.
But even though there were times when they were able to dream of pulling off the near impossible they ultimately were unable to repeat their first Test magic to leave the series level at 1-1 with three to play.
While Zak Crawley, who has continued his rich vein of form here from the Ashes, was batting a win to surpass anything seen yet in the Bazball era seemed possible but he was to fall to a curious dismissal which raised question marks over the accuracy of the DRS.
The key blows came just before lunch and were not without controversy. Certainly the lbw Kuldeep Yadav won on review against the key man in Crawley when he was on 73 defied all cricketing logic.
India bounced back from a first Test defeat to square the series with a 106-run win vs England
Zak Crawley hit a 132-ball 73 at the top of the order in the second innings for the tourists
Tom Hartley had put up stubborn resistance with Ben Foakes for the eighth wicket before his stumps were smashed by Jasprit Bumrah to seal India’s win
In real time it looked as though the ball might have pitched outside leg-stump and even if it did not it surely would have spun and missed the stumps. Instead DRS had the ball going on straight as a dye and hitting Crawley’s leg-stump.
Then Jonny Bairstow was given out by New Zealand umpire Chris Gaffaney, who has had a poor game here, when what is now old-fashioned logic suggested that there had to be an element of doubt in the batsman’s favour. Technology had it as ‘umpire’s call’ and Bairstow had to leave on the stroke of lunch with England six down and 205 still needed.
Earlier the ‘Night Hawk’ in Rehan Ahmed had added another 28 with Crawley before he was trapped plumb in front by Axar Patel before Ollie Pope was well caught to his left by Rohit Sharma at slip and then Joe Root entered for a frenetic and disappointing cameo.
Root had injured his little finger in practice ahead of the third day and had aggravated it in the field, leading to him being off the field for the bulk of the day.
Now he reverse swept his first ball from Ravichandran Ashwin for four and repeated the trick, a little more hazardously, off his third. Root was very close to being lbw on 15, made off just eight balls, before he aimed another big slog sweep at Ashwin and miscued to short-third man. Perhaps Root was hindered by injury but it was an innings that strayed too far on the wrong side of the line England are carefully treading here.
Crawley, as in England’s first innings, looked in sublime touch and while he was with Bairstow it really did look as if England might pull off the impossible. His questionable lbw decision on 73 changed all that and when Bairstow, who had looked in his best touch so far this series, went for 26 to a decision that could easily have gone the other way, the writing was on the wall for England.
While there was Stokes there was hope but after playing responsibly, as he does when he’s building up to a big contribution, the England captain was caught napping by a direct hit from Shreyas Iyer as he sauntered through for what looked like a comfortable single.
It was careless from Stokes and the decisive blow for England in their attempt to follow the Hyderabad heist, arguably their greatest ever overseas Test win, with the ultimate victory in Vizag.
New Zealand Umpire Chris Gaffaney (left) had a poor game in the second Test in Visakhapatnam
England’s tormentor-in-chief in the first innings Bumrah took three more to finish with nine wickets in the match
Ravi Ashwin is poised on 499 Test wickets after removing Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Joe Root
The folly of Stokes dismissal was emphasised by the ease with which Ben Foakes and Tom Hartley added 55 for the eighth wicket, both hitting sixes to continue the fight.
But their fun was ended when Foakes offered a return catch to England’s destroyer from the first innings in Jasprit Bumrah.
Shoaib Bashir was promoted above Jimmy Anderson in the batting order but he soon gave Mukesh Kumar, an underwhelming replacement for Mohammed Siraj, a wicket with an edge behind and it was all over when, appropriately, Bumrah bowled Hartley with another beauty.
Now the teams will have a break until the third Test in Rajkot on February 15th – England are heading back to their training base in Abu Dhabi – with England still proving they will be competitive with their ultra-positivity in India and with this series beautifully poised.