Oh how the mighty fall. From the incredible highs of a Lord's Test match victory to the miserable, did-not-even-put-up-a-fight lows at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton – India's abject surrender knew no bounds as England completed a thumping victory on the third Test to level the five-match Test series at 1-1.
A loss looked inevitable after India's pathetic performance on Day 4, losing four quick wickets when chasing a target of 445. However, the least that could have been expected of this India side, coming off a massive win in the second Test, would have been some fight, some gumption, some grit, to at the very least make England sweat for their victory.
Instead, what transpired was some awful batting yet again, with only Ajinkya Rahane (52 n.o., 121b, 7x4) keeping the value of his stock intact as India crumbled quicker than a cookie from 112 for four to 178 all out in 66.4 overs to bow down to a massive 266-run defeat to England, with Moeen I'm-not-a-part-time-spinner-anymore Ali grabbing his best figures in Test cricket by a mile.
India's tame surrender began in just the second over of the day, with Rohit Sharma (6, 28b), unnecessarily, hanging his bat out to an outswinger from James Anderson, who was on the money from ball one, and finding a tickle through to Jos Buttler, with the right-hander not even notching a single run from his overnight score.
Four overs later, and MS Dhoni was walking back to the pavilion after the same outcome, with Anderson (14-5-24-2) bowling an absolute peach and finding the outside edge of the skipper, leaving India teetering near the edge on 120 for six.
Ravindra Jadeja (15, 43b, 2x4) hung around for a little while with Rahane, the only Indian batsman who actually looked like a batsman in this innings, putting on 32 runs in 12.5 overs for the seventh wicket, and with it looking like India might actually survive until Lunch, before Moeen Ali and his brilliant ability to pick up wickets came into play again.
A straight delivery which did not take much turn off the rough went through Jadeja's heaving bat and clipped the outside of off stump to give the off-spinner his third wicket of the innings. Soon after, Ali would pick up his fourth, after inducing an inside edge onto pad off Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0, 4b) with Anderson taking a simple enough catch at gully.
At a miserable 152 for eight, the only question that remained was if the match would go into a second session or end before the first two hours are up, and that answer became increasingly clear a couple of overs later as Ali (20.4-4-67-6) completed his first five-for in Test cricket by castling Mohammed Shami, who unfortunately just could not hang around to give Rahane some company and India a semblance of pride.
There were a few oohs and aahs in the next few overs as India looked to survive with Rahane farming as much of the strike as possible, but Pankaj Singh, a couple of lusty blows notwithstanding, ain't made for batting and India's resistance, if it can be called that, ended on over number xx courtesy the arm of Ali, who gave England their first victory in 11 Test matches.
It's onto Manchester now for the fourth Test starting next Thursday, and India need to find that lost mojo soon, after losing every single session of the third Test, if they are to make a fist of it at Old Trafford.