AHMEDABAD: India broke through the stubborn England resistance with a morning burst of five wickets before surging to a comprehensive nine-wicket victory in the opening Test for a 1-0 lead in the four-match series yesterday.
Needing 77 runs to record their first win at this venue in seven years on a crumbling and dusty pitch, India achieved the target when they made 80 for 1 in 15.3 overs after lunch with more than half a day to spare.
Openers Virender Sehwag (25) and Cheteshwar Pujara (41 not out), who scored a double hundred in the huge first innings total of 521 for 8 declared, polished off the major part of the target by adding 57 runs in only 9.5 overs.
Earlier, left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha prised open the victory door for the hosts when he broke through England's resolute batting by packing off overnight batsmen Matt Prior (91) and Alastair Cook (176) in 12 balls to virtually bring the visitors to their knees.
The two had kept England afloat on Day 4 with a determined partnership which had helped the visitors avoid an innings defeat and had raised their hopes of even saving the game. The pair remained unconquered on Day 4 with the visitors on 340 for 5, an overall lead of 10 runs.
Ojha's 2 for 18 burst in 11 overs was complimented by Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Zaheer Khan who grabbed a wicket each as England slumped from 356/5 to 406 all out in just over 16 overs and in 113 minutes of play on Day 5. Ojha, who grabbed 4/120 in the second innings to add to his superb haul of 5/45 in the first, emerged as the most successful bowler from the game.
Pujara, who made an unbeaten 206 in the first essay and opened the innings in place of a bereaved Gautam Gambhir, was the most successful batsman for India.
In the second innings, Pujara and Virat Kohli (14 not out) steered Indian home without being separated. Sehwag was caught just inside the long on rope by Kevin Pietersen off Graeme Swann after striking one four and a six in his 21-ball knock.
Kohli hit the winning run, a four off Swann, 51 minutes after lunch to seal victory while Pujara remained unconquered after facing 51 balls and striking eight fours.
The victory broke the seven-year winless run for India at this ground. The team had last won at Motera in December 2005, Sri Lanka being the losing side.
This was also their fourth win here in 12 encounters and their fifth in the last six Tests played at home going back to last season's triumphant series against the West Indies.
The two teams will now proceed to Mumbai for the second Test at the Wankhede Stadium commencing on November 23, to be followed by the third and last Tests at Kolkata (December 5-9) and Nagpur (December 13-17).
England's first innings collapse for 191 against Ojha and Ashwin was the root cause of their massive defeat though they fought back well through captain Alastair Cook who batted for a marathon 560 minutes spread over three days.
But once Ojha broke the partnership between Cook and Prior at 356, the England resistance started dwindling and the captain's dismissal virtually ended it though the last three wickets put on 41 runs.
The visitors were all out seven minutes before the scheduled lunch interval, prompting an early break.
Ojha dealt the crucial blows on England in the space of only 12 balls, breaking the stubborn sixth-wicket stand between Cook and Prior.
Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Zaheer Khan polished off the tail in style to leave the hosts a small target to chase.
Ojha finished with 4 for 120 after a fine morning spell of 2 for 18 in 11 overs.The visitors lost their last five wickets for the addition of 66 runs in 26.3 overs.
After being frustrated by Cook and Prior since the afternoon session on Day 4, Ojha dismissed the two in superb fashion by deceiving both with his turn off the bowlers' rough to prise open the doors of victory for India before lunch.
Yadav then packed off England vice captain Stuar