England already held the upper hand in the final Test. After winning the toss and putting India in to bat on a green-tinged surface at The Oval, England took five wickets before lunch and bowled India out for 148.
After the rain delayed the start of play by half an hour, it only took four balls for James Anderson to land the first flow on a desperately fragile India.
While the hosts appear to improve with every match, India are in freefall. For the fourth innings in a row, they failed to reach 200 as their batsman failed to cope with the moving ball.
India should have been bowled out for 5, but Ian Bell, diving to his right, shelled a sharp chance to his right at second slip to reprieve Ishant.
Despite the captain’s efforts, it had been another feeble India batting display and one that may have sealed their fate in the series.
Cook will be confident in helping his team take another stride towards a third victory in a row to complete a remarkable turnaround since they were heavily beaten at Lord’s to go 1-0 down in the series.