England v India, 3rd npower Test, Edgbaston, 4th day August 13, 2011

England reach No. 1 with emphatic win


England 710 for 7 dec (Cook 294, Morgan 104) beat India 224 (Dhoni 77, Broad 4-53, Bresnan 4-62) and 244 (Dhoni 74*, Anderson 4-85) by an innings and 242 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It had been inevitable for much of the previous three days but England officially became the No. 1 Test team in the world shortly after 3pm, ending India's stay at the top with one of their most crushing victories, by an innings and 242 runs. The fourth day didn't even last until tea as the visitors were dispatched for 244 after James Anderson ripped the top off the batting before Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad chipped in.

In theory India had the line-up to at least make England toil for victory, but in reality they have looked a beaten side throughout this match. When Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid fell within the first four overs of the day it was clear Sunday wouldn't be required although at least India went down swinging as Praveen Kumar clubbed 40 off 18 balls - momentarily looking on course for the fastest Test half-century - and MS Dhoni continued his return to form with an unbeaten 74.

Yet all it did was delay the inevitable and when Sreesanth fended at Tim Bresnan, Kevin Pietersen held the catch at gully and England went top of the pile. Although the tables weren't introduced until 2003 back-dating shows it's the first time they have been No. 1 since 1979 although that was when West Indies had been severely depleted due to the Packer-era.

India, meanwhile, lose their title after a stint of 21 months and will have to dig very deep to try and salvage pride at The Oval. If they lose the series 4-0 they will be down to third. Sachin Tendulkar was the only one of the top six to really show the hunger for a fight and had moved to 40 when Dhoni drove towards Swann, who got his right hand to the ball, deflecting it into the stumps with Tendulkar's bat on the line. While it's always a tough way to fall, Tendulkar had backed up a long way which leaves the chance of such a dismissal. Regardless, though, Tendulkar wouldn't have saved the match for India because of the damage inflicted in the first hour.

Anderson didn't wait long to make an impression; he found Gautam Gambhir's outside edge with his first ball of the day and the catch was taken by Swann at second slip. Gambhir has shown the ability to occupy the crease in the past - he cited his 436-ball innings at Napier as how India could save this game - but with him removed early the pressure was squarely on Dravid and, of course, Tendulkar. Dravid, though, did not last long but his dismissal appeared to throw up a bizarre set of circumstances.

When he played forward to Anderson's outswinger, the noise suggested a clear outside edge and Simon Taufel gave the decision. However, subsequent replays showed that the sound didn't quite match the pictures and it appeared Dravid's shoelace may have flicked the bottom of his bat. Dravid could have reviewed but didn't take the option and whether there would have been enough clear evidence to overturn the decision will never be known.

India were 40 for 3 and sinking fast. Tendulkar gave momentary relief with a couple of sweet drives, but VVS Laxman was given a tough time by England's fast bowlers. Anderson's swing and Broad's extra bounce kept him on nought for 16 balls before Anderson produced another fine delivery to take the outside edge.

Broad, meanwhile, tried to take advantage of Tendulkar's problems with the sightscreen behind the bowler's arm. In a similar manner to Andrew Flintoff against Jacques Kallis in 2008, Tendulkar was having trouble picking up deliveries from a set of dark windows and Broad probed away with a series of very full balls which he tried to squeeze under Tendulkar's bat.

Tendulkar, though, responded with a fighting effort although a few of his drives came with a hint of frustration - even anger? - at India's position. The wait for the 100th hundred carries on until at least The Oval and there is a growing sense that it isn't meant to happen in this series.

Before Swann's literal hand in Tendulkar's scalp, he'd been brought on to target Suresh Raina and it was an absorbing, if brief, battle. Raina should have gone for 1, but Andrew Strauss couldn't hold a low chance at gully as Swann tried to add to his lean tally of two wickets in the series. Raina didn't hold back, crunching a straight drive past Swann's right hand, then driving over cover, but Swann had the final say when he gained an lbw decision from Steve Davis.

Raina wasn't happy, and even signalled for a review having forgotten they can't be used for lbws, but replays confirmed Davis was spot on with the ball hitting middle and leg. The fact Raina even considered the DRS showed his frazzled mindset. Swann claimed his second shortly after lunch when Amit Mishra was well caught at mid-off but his figures then suffered at the hands of Praveen with one over costing 21.

The fifty stand between Praveen and Dhoni was raised in 28 balls of free swinging to ensure no record defeat for India. The fun ended when Broad was recalled and immediately had Praveen, whose right thumb had been given a battering, caught at cover. Dhoni continued to show the fight that has been so lacking from India, but it had long since become a forlorn effort. His team has had their time at the top, for the time being at least, and now that's England's honour. The next challenge is to stay there.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Srinivas on August 16, 2011, 20:10 GMT

    @Geoffrey Anthony Plumridge, I understand what you are saying. But, life is much bigger than cricket. Cricket is a game that serves our free time, desires and passions. Any game for that matter. I would rather have a hundred thousand people alive through IPL than Test Cricket alive and people living with bare minimums. Test Cricket serves my passions and desires. But people's lives are much more important than the passions and desires of each one of us. I'm not sure if you get the drift of what I'm trying to say. A rich sport not only serves the players but also the curbside vendor whose business increases may be a hundred fold at times. I myself have seen a vendor buying a scooter from the errands he sold during IPL, something that he couldn't buy in 15 years. So, before you wish for the demise of a rich sport, think what you wish for people as well at the same time. If Test Cricket dies at the expense of a decent life for people, as a responsible and empathic man, I have no problem.

  • Dummy4 on August 16, 2011, 14:48 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas I'm sorry but most of us in Australia recognise domestic T20 (and this is what I am assuming you are talking about) to be a blight on the game of cricket, and a cynical money grab by all involved at the expense of the long term health of the game. It was the same with Kerry Packer and WSC. Test cricket went down in quality after 1984 due to the rise of the one day game, and it will continue to fall now that every country seems obsessed with the shortest form of the game. At the grass roots level in my country youngsters are only interested in hitting the ball in the air and bowling yorkers on leg stump. They have no interest in test cricket, and that is because of T20. I hope it dies soon before it takes all that is good about cricket away into the history books.

  • Srinivas on August 16, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    @TJM101, most of us love Test Cricket. But at the same time we do understand the role of IPL in bettering people's lives and spreading cricket across the globe. I don't think you'll find a bigger test cricket fan from India than me and who can go crazy for Bell scoring a 150+score even when India is at risk of losing. But everything has to have a place. I'm not blinkered by my love for Test Cricket. IPL is just an awesome thing that has happened to hundreds of thousands of families. So don't hound it. People hounding it run the risk of looking like losers. Hound the indiscipline in the players. Yes, if there is a Pujara, who can take Dravid as his idol at the end of the day amidst this commercialisation, pinnacle of cricket is still alive along with the money that IPL brings in. What more do we want as cricket fans and responsible citizens rolled into one? Rankings? Please keep them. I can trade #1 ranking 100 times to keep IPL alive and this is coming from an ardent Test Cricket fan.

  • Tim on August 16, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas - Your comments about sub-continent pitches being spin friendly rather than flat/dead is well made, however most of these current comments are specifically regarding the state of the pitch when considering pace bowling and lack of assistance the bowlers get in which case dead is a valid description. It is possible to produce a pitch that will assist both pace and spin bowling; I am hoping that the upcoming Oval pitch will be such, if only to see how well Swann does. The Indian pitches have been unfriendly to the development of pace bowling for so long in India that it has a detrimental effect on both bowlers (not a deep enough pool of quality bowlers) and the batsmen (no practice against short pitched bowling, etc) when it comes to touring outside India. I think India should prepare the pitches for Indian bowling, but also invest in pace bowling; if Pakistan can produce a conveyor belt of quality pace bowlers on similar wickets there is no reason why India can't!!!

  • Srinivas on August 15, 2011, 23:16 GMT

    @chiggers, what to do? I'm tired of listening to this record that is being played over and over for the past 25 to 30 years about the definition of what is a dead track and what is an 'alive' track. You are the first Non-Indian to use the phrase spin friendly track on cricinfo discussion board, if I'm not wrong. Honestly, Kudos to you for showing some understanding of cricket. I'll wholeheartedly give a standing ovation to England if they show some fight on spin friendly tracks and win a match or two if not the series. I'm not saying prepare spin friendly tracks. What all I'm asking the English fans and others as well is don't show your knowledge or the lack of it by calling spinning tracks as flat, dead and runfest tracks. Hope this helps.

  • Srinivas on August 15, 2011, 15:02 GMT

    For BCCI to flex their muscle the way they do at ICC, they need Indian cricket to be at the top. Trust me. BCCI will not spare any expenses to ensure that Indian cricket will rise again. They have done so in the past (appointing John Wright as Coach, Ganguly as Captain, getting a Sports psychologist to accompany the team etc.). They have become complacent what with the teams' success and the apple of their eye IPL success. BCCI (though I hate this org with all I got), has proven that in the past and one should not be surprised, if they revamp Indian cricket again.

  • Tim on August 15, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    Genuine question; Do the majority of Indians really care about test cricket and whether they are No1 in the world? I ask because it cannot just be coincidence that 1 day and IPL cricket is so popular in India. Most of the people on this website are going to be serious cricket fans and care about their team in all formats of the game (though admittedly I, as an England fan don't really care about 1 dayers or 20-20) rather than your more casual fan, so are we really seeing the majority Indian view on this website? Which would go down worse with the fans and press; losing the test series and No1 test status or seeing the reigning world champions lose the upcoming 1 day series (not that this is very likely)?

  • Michael Ponnudurai on August 15, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    Many Indians are confident that things will be difficult for Eng when they travel to India and in fact that India can win. I agree to some extent. But at best, the series result will be a lot more close. Chances for series win for India are bleak as Eng now has a potent spin attack, not like Aus which is still searching for a good spinner. Not only England, even South Africa has good spinners now. So if BCCI/India contemplate to produce low bounce and turning dustbowls as pitches, it may boomerang on India, especially when Eng or SA are touring India.

  • Anver on August 15, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    Before the series Ind had big hopes, but all shattered & Eng deservedly became the KING of TEST !!!!! I believe except for that horrible one session, SL played much much better than Ind. SL showed some fighting qualities in tougher situations than Ind who had failed so far in the series....... Eng u'r the best in tests !!!!!!

  • Chris on August 15, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas - please change the record! England know what the conditions are going to be like in the sub-continent and will prepare accordingly - something that this Indian team patently failed to do. Besides what's the point of preparing spin-friendly pitches, when your best spinner was even more toothless than England's over here?

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