India in England, 2011 August 13, 2011

Conquering subcontinent key to staying No.1

How long will England remain No.1

How long will England remain No.1? Vic Marks, in the Guardian, says the team will have to achieve something they haven't done since 2000-01 - winning a series in the subcontinent.

But winning in the subcontinent is a little more complicated. England have not won there since the winter of 2000‑01, when Duncan Fletcher and Nasser Hussain conjured stunning series victories in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It is this side's ultimate challenge and it usually requires a change of plan. In Sri Lanka England will have to play two spinners and that may also be the case against Pakistan.

You may share this column's exasperation for the call for England to play five bowlers during this summer — or indeed during the last Ashes' winter. But the need to introduce a second spinner on the brown tracks and under the unrelenting sun of Colombo or Chennai will have to prompt a change.

In the Sunday Telegraph, Steve James writes that while Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower take most of the plaudits, credit must go to former coach Duncan Fletcher as well for putting in the foundations of a strong side.

On Saturday, James Anderson once again proved too hot for the Indians and during his four-wicket haul, he went past Alec Bedser's wicket tally. David Lloyd pays tribute in the Independent on Sunday.

In the Mail on Sunday, Patrick Collins describes the moment of victory, when England confirmed their place at the top of the table.

Anil Kumble says in the Hindustan Times that England were "the better prepared, the more charged up and by far the fitter" team.

There is some merit in each of the 'whys' that have been discussed as the reason for India's poor showing: fatigue, mental and physical, lack of a culture of fitness, lack of preparation, the almost child-like belief that since everything has been going well so far, it will continue to do so and sheer momentum will carry India over the line, the injuries to key players Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag.

In the Mumbai Mirror, Deepak Narayanan terms this series India's worst collective performance in a while.

Worse than the 3-0 whitewash in Australia at the turn of the century because that was a result everyone - including BCCI secretary Jaywant Lele - expected.
Worse even than the hiding the West Indies handed to India, in India, right after the 1983 World Cup, for then at least there were three drawn Tests in six.

"The stellar batting superstars and best pace bowler are ageing, the best spinner has lost his sting, and the pace attack lacks a genuine tearaway strike bowler who can run through the top order." Soutik Biswas lists India's trouble on his blog in the BBC.

If there ever was a truly disheartening and depressing day for an Indian cricket fan, this was it and it brooks no competition whatsoever, writes Sriram Dayanand on his blog.

On his blog A Cricketing View, Kartikeya Date argues that India's defeat should be blamed on their lacklustre fast bowling.

In his Yahoo blog, Venkat Ananth explains how Indian cricket has got its priorities in a twist, leading to their shambolic showing in England.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo