In Depth

Future of Alastair Cook thrown into doubt as England lose fourth Test

Ragged England bowled out for just 195 as India win by an innings and 36 runs

England's cricketers lost the fourth Test and the series as India bundled them out for just 195 on the final day in Mumbai.

The defeat, by an innings and 36 runs, leaves hosts India 3-0 up after four matches and England with plenty of questions to answer and the captaincy of Alastair Cook under increasing scrutiny.

England began the final day 49 runs behind India on 182-6 with only the slimmest of hopes. But they showed little fight as they lost their final four wickets in 48 balls for the addition of just 13 runs, as Ravichandran Ashwin took 6-55 for match figures of 12-167.

Despite making a good start to the game England quickly went downhill. "It is the third time a Test side have made 400 or more in the first innings of the match and lost by an innings," notes the BBC, which adds: "A fourth defeat in five matches is their seventh of the year – their 12-month worst of eight losses could be equalled in the fifth and final Test, which begins in Chennai on Friday."

The match also ended on a sour note with words between England number 11 Jimmy Anderson and Ashwin, who appeared to think Anderson had insulted his captain Virat Kohli. Both umpires were forced to intervene as several players got involved. Kohli later observed that he was the one playing peacemaker.

It's difficult to see how England can turn things round for that game, says Michael Atherton in The Times. "It was back at the start of the Bangladesh tour that Alastair Cook warned of how easily teams touring the subcontinent can find themselves in a death spiral, which is exactly where his team are now: bruised, battered, confused in selection, compounding errors from earlier games and with too many players out of form and short of match time."

England need help, says Geoffrey Boycott in the Daily Telegraph. "There is no imagination from the coach or captain," he says. 

The team contains too many seamers for Indian conditions, while the spinners who do play "are very ordinary", he says. Meanwhile there is a "lack of quality batsmen in the squad", which explains why England have twice lost this series after winning the toss and electing to bat.

He is particularly critical of captain Cook, who he believes is too defensive and formulaic, and says the head of England cricket, Andrew Strauss, needs to consider his options. "Whoever captains in England this summer is going to take the team to Australia so he needs to seriously think about this. Is Cook the man to take us forward? Or is it time for change?"

Cook appeared to suggest that the fifth test on Friday could be his final as captain when he praised the man expected to replace him in the long term, Joe Root. 

"I think Joe Root's ready to captain England," he said. "You're thrown in at the deep end and you either sink or swim. Nothing can really prepare you for it.

"But he's ready because he's a clued-up guy and he's got the respect of everyone in the changing-room. He hasn't got much captaincy experience, but that doesn't mean he can't be a very good captain."

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