England ended a 10-match losing streak with an emphatic 266-run win over India, with a relieved Alastair Cook describing it as the “perfect win”.
The under-pressure captain finally found some form with the bat with scores of 95 and 70 not out as England levelled the series at the Ageas Bowl.
England are now 2.20 favourites to go on and win the series, with India 3.40 while the draw is 3.00.
The tourists were set a target of 445 for victory, but they did not get anywhere near as Moeen Ali’s career-best 6-67 saw them bowled out for just 178 before lunch on the final day.
“I don’t think it’s ‘relieved’, ‘happy’ is a better word!” Cook said after the win.
“It was a great performance from day one. We pretty much won every session, well we didn’t lose a session, and that’s credit to the guys.
“People stood up. Every single one of the XI who played has contributed to a great win. We wanted to get on the wicket first and bat well, getting 570 was a great start, then we bowled them out, put pressure on them, batted quickly then bowled them out cheaply so yes, it was the perfect game!”
England can now be backed at 3.25 to win the series 2-1, while they are 5.80 to win the next two Tests to take the series 3-1.