India in England, 2011 August 24, 2011

England streets ahead on all fronts

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan
A much-anticipated contest between two top teams turned out to be hopelessly one-sided as England overwhelmed India in every department

India's drastic fall

Before the series started, the contest was expected to be tight with a realistic possibility of India winning their second consecutive series in England. Instead, the series turned out to be one of the most lop-sided in Test history with England trouncing India 4-0. While the margin reflects the gulf in class between the two sides, it does not do complete justice to England's exceptional all-round dominance nor does it completely put India's abysmal show into perspective.

India, who were No.1 before the series started, lost the first two Tests by margins of 196 runs and 319 runs and the next two by an innings making it only the third series against England in which they have lost two or more Tests by an innings. Further evidence of England's superb performance is the fact that all four defeat margins feature in the top sixteen Indian losses since 2000.

England's outstanding display is all the more creditable as they outperformed an Indian batting line-up which was among the best in the business before the start of the series. While India failed to cross 300 in any of their eight innings, England racked up over 500 in three consecutive innings. India's batting failures were harder to fathom since their line-up featured Test cricket's top two run-getters in Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.

It wasn't just the batting that failed for India. The bowlers struggled for impact and consistency throughout and the England batsmen piled on the runs in every Test. India managed to pick up just 47 wickets while England picked up 80 wickets, bowling India out on every occasion. England's wickets-per-match figure in the series (20) is well above their mark in the Tests preceding the series (15.84). The wickets-per-match figure for India in the series (11.75) is much lower than the corresponding number in the Tests before the series (15.63).

A look at the numbers before the series and during the series clearly outlines England's dominance. Both teams had very similar batting averages in Tests played between the start of 2009 and the beginning of the series while England had a slightly better bowling average. In this series though, the difference between the teams' averages was a massive 34.21 in favour of England.

The two teams before the series (Jan 2009 to start of series) and during the series
Team Period Matches Win/Loss/Draw Batting avg Bowling avg Avg Diff 100/50 Wickets taken
England Before series 32 16/5/11 42.76 31.14 11.62 42/80 507
India Before series 24 12/3/9 43.49 36.54 6.95 38/72 375
England This series 4 4/0/0 59.76 25.55 34.21 7/11 80
India This series 4 0/4/0 25.55 59.76 -34.21 3/9 47

Outclassed with bat and ball

England's 4-0 win is their third whitewash in series of three or more matches since 2000. Their previous such results in the home summer of 2004 when they blanked both West Indies and New Zealand. India, who had won at least one Test in every series since their 1-0 defeat to Pakistan in 2005-06, suffered their first whitewash since the 3-0 drubbing in Australia in 1999-00.

The average difference between the teams in this series (34.21) is the highest among all series whitewashes since 1999-2000. England's average (59.76) is more than double that of India's (25.55) and the ratio of the two averages (2.33) is also the highest among all series whitewashes in the same period. Not only is the run difference of 765 the highest in the table, the 33-wicket difference between the two teams is second only to the 37-wicket difference between Australia and England in the 2006-07 Ashes.

Top whitewashes in terms of average difference since 1999-2000 (3 matches minimum)
Winning team Losing team Year Margin Runs diff Avg diff Avg ratio Wickets diff 50+ scores diff
England India 2011 4-0 765 34.21 2.33 33 6
Australia Pakistan 2004-05 3-0 494 27.69 2.20 23 6
Australia India 1999-00 3-0 606 27.19 2.27 20 7
Australia West Indies 2005-06 3-0 381 26.48 2.11 24 3
Australia England 2006-07 5-0 584 26.42 2.00 37 7
Sri Lanka West Indies 2001-02 3-0 137 24.74 1.91 26 4

Worst loss against England since 1974

England, who have inflicted series whitewashes on 13 occasions (minimum three matches), completed their fourth such series win over India. It is their first whitewash against India since the 3-0 win in the home series in 1974. While the average difference of 48.33 in 1974 and the wickets difference of 38 in 1967 are the highest in India-England series, the corresponding figures in the 2011 series are not too far behind. The 4-0 margin is only the sixth time that India have lost four or more matches in a series with the previous such result coming in the 1991-92 series in Australia. India also suffered innings defeats in two consecutive Tests in a series for the first time since the 1974 series.

England's best series results against India (series of 3 or more matches) in terms of avg diff
Series Result England avg India avg Avg diff Avg ratio Wickets diff
1974 3-0 67.87 19.54 48.33 3.47 35
2011 4-0 59.76 25.55 34.21 2.33 33
1959 5-0 40.60 19.63 20.97 2.06 19
1967 3-0 41.13 22.11 18.98 1.86 38

England's exceptional lower-order batting

England's top-order batsmen did struggle in the first two Tests but were rescued on both occasions by the lower order. While Stuart Broad and Matt Prior shared a superb century stand in the second innings at Lord's, it was Broad and Graeme Swann who took England to a competitive 221 in the second Test after they were perilously placed at 124 for 8. The story of the next three innings was completely the opposite. The lower-order batsmen were hardly required as Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook hit top form. Bell, in particular, was brilliant scoring 159, 34 and 235 in his last three innings. Cook shrugged off a poor start to the series with a mammoth 294 in England's innings-win in Edgbaston. The lower order, however, averaged higher than the top order while also scoring at a higher run-rate.

India, who were extremely disappointing with the bat throughout the series failed to stitch together any substantial stands. They had only two century partnerships in the series while England had ten. The top order averaged just 28.85 with only Dravid demonstrating the right technique and application. India's lower order, in sharp contrast to England's, averaged under 21 and were rolled over far too easily in almost every innings.

Top order and lower order partnership stats for teams in the series
Team Batting posn Average Run-rate 100/50 stands
England Top order (1-6) 57.91 3.50 8/6
India Top order (1-6) 28.85 2.91 2/9
England Lower order (7-10) 65.81 5.25 2/4
India Lower Order (7-10) 20.59 4.13 0/4

In a league of his own

With none of the other Indian batsmen offering a fight, Dravid's superlative batting efforts were solely responsible for reducing the margins of defeat. He scored three centuries for the second time in England becoming only the second visiting batsman after Don Bradman to achieve the feat. During the course of his unbeaten 146 in the final Test, he also became the third Indian batsman after Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag to carry his bat. Only Tim Bresnan troubled Dravid dismissing him two times while conceding just 44 runs. In 472 balls from James Anderson and Stuart Broad, Dravid was dismissed only three times. The other Indian batsmen, however, have a balls-per-dismissal figure of 46.71 against Anderson and 37.08 against Broad. Dravid's average of 56 and 105 against Anderson and Broad is far ahead of the rest of the top-order batsmen who have corresponding numbers of 25.50 and 13.15.

Rahul Dravid's standout numbers against England pace bowlers
Batsman Bowler Dismissals Average Balls/Dismissal
Rahul Dravid James Anderson 2 56.00 103.50
Rest of the top order James Anderson 14 25.50 46.71
Rahul Dravid Stuart Broad 1 105.00 265.00
Rest of the top order Stuart Broad 13 13.15 37.08
Rahul Dravid Tim Bresnan 2 22.00 55.00
Rest of the top order Tim Bresnan 8 15.87 40.00

Technical frailties exposed

Coming into the series, Anderson had dismissed Tendulkar five times in six matches. He dismissed Tendulkar twice more but Broad was more successful against Tendulkar removing him three times and conceding just 42 runs. Tendulkar, who fell for 91 in the final Test and missed out on his 100th century, had an ordinary series by his standards. His average of 34.12 is his second-lowest in a series of four or more matches. VVS Laxman, who had a forgettable series, struggled against the swing of Anderson and was dismissed four times. Broad also capitalised on Dhoni's poor technique and dismissed him three times caught in the slip cordon. Sehwag's return was also not a happy one as made 0, 0 and 8 in his first three innings losing his wicket twice to Anderson.

Indian batsmen v England fast bowlers
Batsman Bowler Dismissals Average Balls/Dismissal
VVS Laxman James Anderson 4 13.50 28.00
MS Dhoni Stuart Broad 3 7.66 25.00
Suresh Raina James Anderson 3 7.00 23.33
Sachin Tendulkar Stuart Broad 3 14.00 34.66
Gautam Gambhir Stuart Broad 2 13.50 29.00
VVS Laxman Tim Bresnan 2 22.50 35.50
Virender Sehwag James Anderson 2 11.00 6.50
Sachin Tendulkar James Anderson 2 44.00 58.50

Broad's all-round heroics

Broad, who was declared England's player of the series, returned outstanding figures of 25 wickets at an average of 13.84. His average is the sixth-best among fast bowlers who have picked up 15-plus wickets in a series against India. In the second Test, both Broad and Bresnan joined the list of England players with a fifty-plus score and a five-wicket haul in a Test against India. Swann, who wasn't quite at his best in the first three Tests, bowled superbly at The Oval and picked up his 11th five-wicket haul. His average of 40.69 was much better than that of Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra who averaged 106.66 and 143.50 respectively.

As another indication of England's all-round dominance, Prior, in the hugely-important role of a wicketkeeper-batsman, comfortably outperformed his counterpart Dhoni. He averaged 67.75 at a run-rate of 5.14 and the confidence in his batting was reflected in his quality keeping. Dhoni, on the other hand had an ordinary series as a wicketkeeper and struggled with the bat averaging 31.42 at a run-rate of 3.25.