Eng v Ind, 3rd npower Test, Edgbaston, 4th day August 13, 2011

England belong at the top

England will have to take their winning game to the subcontinent to tick off a crucial box, but they have a few ingredients that suggest their grip on the top ranking will be firmer than India's
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The only lament for the supporters of English cricket at this moment of glory would be that it was utterly devalued by the abjectness of the opposition. The matter got so desperate on the fourth day that they joined the Indian fans in chanting Praveen Kumar's name as he threw some meaty punches and warmly applauded him back to the dressing-room after his dismissal. No one who had paid for a seat would have wished to be so emphatically denied of a contest.

Of course England cannot be held to account for the feebleness of their opponents. They dealt with what was presented to them to with full force and have now seized the No. 1 ranking with the swagger of a team that belongs. As India have been reminded so painfully on this tour, the top rank on the ICC table doesn't necessarily translate to indisputable supremacy but, by administering India the mightiest of routs, England have built the most compelling of cases.

It is a moment of huge significance for English cricket because their success hasn't arrived merely by accident or by the happy coincidence of a burst of talent. It has been engineered through years of planning and building and the meticulous construction of a template that made success inevitable.

It can be argued that the best of England met the worst of India in this series. But as India's resistance dissolved into nothingness on the fourth morning, so did the grounds for excuses. Batting on a pitch that yielded England 710 runs, India - fielding their best possible batting line-up - were reduced to 130 for 7.

The Indian task was hopeless to start with but in many ways it offered their batsmen a last shot at redemption. In one hour of magnificent swing bowling, James Anderson put the final stamp on the comprehensive superiority of England's bowlers over India's batsmen. It became abundantly clear in that hour, if it hadn't been apparent already, that no matter how well India had prepared, and how mentally and physically fresh they were, England would still have prevailed. Not once in their climb to the top had India's batsmen encountered a bowling unit so skillful and so persistently relentless.

It is futile to go on droning about the ill luck with injury that first removed Zaheer Khan and then Harbhajan Singh. England lost Chris Tremlett after the first Test and Jonathan Trott during the second and for the third and yet grew stronger by the Test. Ian Bell took the No. 3 spot at Edgbaston and made a hundred, and Tim Bresnan has made such an impact that Tremlett will struggle to regain his place in the playing XI. Teams are also judged by their depth; India found themselves hopelessly exposed.

It is futile now to look back on those two post-tea sessions in the second Test at Trent Bridge that decisively tilted the series England's way. Test matches are rarely won by winning only a couple of sessions. The striking difference between the two sides was that India were never able to hold their advantage and England always found the means to retrieve a lost session.

Any comparison with the great teams of the past would be premature - and England will have to take their winning game to the subcontinent to tick off a crucial box - but they have a few ingredients that suggest their grip on the top ranking will be firmer than India's: the strongest and most versatile bowling attack in the world currently; a batting line-up that combines solidity at the top with flair at the bottom; a strong number seven and the best tail in the world; and the belief, instilled by performances, that no cause is lost until it is lost. Most crucially, they are a relatively young team with players yet to hit the peak of their careers.

India's hold over the No 1 ranking was always tenuous. Unlike England, their climb to the top was driven not by the system but by the talent and passion of a group of extraordinary cricketers. It was sustained not, as it is usually the case with dominant Test teams, by a group of match-winning bowlers, but by the ability of a once-in-lifetime batting line-up. The wins were achieved by a few memorable bowling performances, but the batsmen ensured that not many Tests were lost.

The reason why the air of despondency is so thick around Indian cricket in the aftermath of their Birmingham defeat - their third biggest in history and the biggest since 1974 at Lord's when they were bowled out for 42 - is that their batting has not, in the past ten years, been so embarrassing over a period of six innings. As they slumped to 56 for 4 in the morning session today, there was a real danger that they would be beaten by Alastair Cook alone. And when the last wicket fell midway through the second session, someone wondered if they should be granted a third innings for the sake of the 8000 spectators who had shown their faith by buying non-refundable tickets for the final day at 15 pounds each.

The scary part for the Indian fan is that the golden age of Indian cricket might have already passed. The batting isn't likely to grow stronger in the immediate future. If anything, it will grow progressively weak as the greats start departing. The Indian cricket administration has done a spectacular job harnessing the passion of the Indian fans to become the richest, and consequently, the most powerful cricket body in the world. But a vision for sporting excellence has rarely been a boardroom agenda. During this Test, Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni were asked about the effect of excessive cricket on the mental and physical readiness of the team. Both refused to offer direct answers. Gambhir said it was a question for the BCCI. Dhoni offered no comments, saying that he didn't want to start a controversy. What they didn't say said enough.

It is no shame to lose to a team that has been decidedly superior. What should hurt Indian cricket is that there hasn't even been the pretence of a contest. It's hard to recall a fall from grace so dramatic, so swift and so complete. While it shouldn't obscure what this team has achieved over the past decade, it's the next ten years that Indian cricket should worry about. Something could still come out of this if the lessons from the wreckage were absorbed.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    Ian Bell took the no. 3 spot at Trent Bridge and scored a hundred, not at Edgbaston.

    (Sorry if someone else has already pointed this out.)

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | August 16, 2011, 9:31 GMT

    @Pranav Kidambi. Amazing comments! Absolutely amazing! "On the other hand England aren't exactly the greatest side in the world either....There is no clear winner in world cricket today". No clear winner!!!??? So, England drawing the series recently in SA, beating Aus over here then thrashing them with 3 Innings defeats in Aus, thrashing PAK, SL and now THRASHING "current number one team" india. No clear winner? Are you sure? But the best one is; "Pontings Australia..... they dominated forever". History book says you are wrong. Pontings Australia lost 3 series out of 4 to England - please explain how this is "dominating". Dominating means when you win. Ponting did a lot of losing. Stick to the facts my friend.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    @bobmartin, please ignore the misinformed comments from some of the Indian fans. For me, what England have done here is enough proof that they belong at the top. In my memory, I have never seen a English team lose so badly, as this Indian team, during any of the series played in India. Even the series way back in 1993, England were not so totally outplayed...

  • POSTED BY bobmartin on | August 16, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas... You say England have got to travel and prove themselves on the sub-continent. Of course, it goes without saying, that if England fail then they will lose their number one ranking, just like India have done on their tour here. You also talk about the different skill sets required for playing on "away" wickets. All teams have to cope with the conditions when they travel, so in that respect it's no different for England than it has been for India on this tour where their much vaunted millionaire batting line up have failed abysmally. I'm willing to bet that England won't cop the same sort of thrashing on their next tour to India.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2011, 3:16 GMT

    First of all Congratulations to the English team. By winning the series so emphatically, they have made it very clear as to who is the No 1 team. Though the ranking might say something else, I do not see India worthy of occupying the no 2 position. FYI, I am an Indian

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | August 16, 2011, 1:46 GMT

    @bobmartin, at least you agree that we were Mighty! Thanks for agreeing ;). England are the deserving #1. They don't need anybody's certificate. But they've got to prove that they can travel well to the sub-continent and play well on the spin friendly tracks and not just on the pace friendly tracks in England and Australia. You need a different skill set to succeed on the challenging spin tracks on the sub-continent. We just want to see if English have that skill set in them instead of brushing aside those tracks as 'batsmen friendly' dead tracks. And BTW, they are not dead tracks by any stretch of imagination. India has done pretty well (if not great) on pitches that are alien to them, thanks to the Legends Dravid, Sachin and VVS who have a well-balanced skill sets for various conditions. I hope it isn't too much to expect the same from the #1 team ;)

  • POSTED BY ibbotsoni on | August 16, 2011, 0:36 GMT

    Keep talking. You've just been thrashed.

  • POSTED BY on | August 15, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    @SaravananIsTheBest England drew with India in the tour before last (2005/6). I'd say that was respectable.

  • POSTED BY SaravananIsTheBest on | August 15, 2011, 21:51 GMT

    @Dravid_gravitas, Well said mate. @All_who_against_him, if you count sub-continents pitches are batsman friendly, why not ENG couldnt manage a RESPECTFUL tour anytime in past ?? Do they forget cricket every time they hit there, expecting a justifiable answer if at all you;ve one ;)

  • POSTED BY bobmartin on | August 15, 2011, 20:14 GMT

    You Indian fans can keep trying to belittle the England achievement as much as you like, but you can't alter the facts no matter how much they hurt. And the more you do it, the more we England fans will gloat... You were so high and mighty before the first test about how India would sweep all before them. If you'd been a bit more humble, we might have been a little more sympathetic to your plight.. However you weren't.. you were so cocky that you deserve everything that comes your way. And even though you've been well and truly trounced, your conceit is beyond bounds. So it's worth pointing out, just to rub another kilo of salt into your wounds, that should you lose the final test, you could find yourself at number three in the ICC rankings... Oh..how the mighty have fallen !!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    Ian Bell took the no. 3 spot at Trent Bridge and scored a hundred, not at Edgbaston.

    (Sorry if someone else has already pointed this out.)

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | August 16, 2011, 9:31 GMT

    @Pranav Kidambi. Amazing comments! Absolutely amazing! "On the other hand England aren't exactly the greatest side in the world either....There is no clear winner in world cricket today". No clear winner!!!??? So, England drawing the series recently in SA, beating Aus over here then thrashing them with 3 Innings defeats in Aus, thrashing PAK, SL and now THRASHING "current number one team" india. No clear winner? Are you sure? But the best one is; "Pontings Australia..... they dominated forever". History book says you are wrong. Pontings Australia lost 3 series out of 4 to England - please explain how this is "dominating". Dominating means when you win. Ponting did a lot of losing. Stick to the facts my friend.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    @bobmartin, please ignore the misinformed comments from some of the Indian fans. For me, what England have done here is enough proof that they belong at the top. In my memory, I have never seen a English team lose so badly, as this Indian team, during any of the series played in India. Even the series way back in 1993, England were not so totally outplayed...

  • POSTED BY bobmartin on | August 16, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas... You say England have got to travel and prove themselves on the sub-continent. Of course, it goes without saying, that if England fail then they will lose their number one ranking, just like India have done on their tour here. You also talk about the different skill sets required for playing on "away" wickets. All teams have to cope with the conditions when they travel, so in that respect it's no different for England than it has been for India on this tour where their much vaunted millionaire batting line up have failed abysmally. I'm willing to bet that England won't cop the same sort of thrashing on their next tour to India.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2011, 3:16 GMT

    First of all Congratulations to the English team. By winning the series so emphatically, they have made it very clear as to who is the No 1 team. Though the ranking might say something else, I do not see India worthy of occupying the no 2 position. FYI, I am an Indian

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | August 16, 2011, 1:46 GMT

    @bobmartin, at least you agree that we were Mighty! Thanks for agreeing ;). England are the deserving #1. They don't need anybody's certificate. But they've got to prove that they can travel well to the sub-continent and play well on the spin friendly tracks and not just on the pace friendly tracks in England and Australia. You need a different skill set to succeed on the challenging spin tracks on the sub-continent. We just want to see if English have that skill set in them instead of brushing aside those tracks as 'batsmen friendly' dead tracks. And BTW, they are not dead tracks by any stretch of imagination. India has done pretty well (if not great) on pitches that are alien to them, thanks to the Legends Dravid, Sachin and VVS who have a well-balanced skill sets for various conditions. I hope it isn't too much to expect the same from the #1 team ;)

  • POSTED BY ibbotsoni on | August 16, 2011, 0:36 GMT

    Keep talking. You've just been thrashed.

  • POSTED BY on | August 15, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    @SaravananIsTheBest England drew with India in the tour before last (2005/6). I'd say that was respectable.

  • POSTED BY SaravananIsTheBest on | August 15, 2011, 21:51 GMT

    @Dravid_gravitas, Well said mate. @All_who_against_him, if you count sub-continents pitches are batsman friendly, why not ENG couldnt manage a RESPECTFUL tour anytime in past ?? Do they forget cricket every time they hit there, expecting a justifiable answer if at all you;ve one ;)

  • POSTED BY bobmartin on | August 15, 2011, 20:14 GMT

    You Indian fans can keep trying to belittle the England achievement as much as you like, but you can't alter the facts no matter how much they hurt. And the more you do it, the more we England fans will gloat... You were so high and mighty before the first test about how India would sweep all before them. If you'd been a bit more humble, we might have been a little more sympathetic to your plight.. However you weren't.. you were so cocky that you deserve everything that comes your way. And even though you've been well and truly trounced, your conceit is beyond bounds. So it's worth pointing out, just to rub another kilo of salt into your wounds, that should you lose the final test, you could find yourself at number three in the ICC rankings... Oh..how the mighty have fallen !!!

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | August 15, 2011, 19:24 GMT

    @danmcb, What you normally call is a myth that is being spread unapologetically. Wickets are pace friendly, spin friendly and then the flat ones as in Edgbaston. I'm amused that some people want to desperately call the challenging spin friendly tracks as flat batsmen friendly tracks. So, I'm just using the same logic for pace friendly tracks and calling them as dead. Works both ways mate ;).

  • POSTED BY on | August 15, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    Good to hear all the reactions. Some people have got me pegged as another India fanatic. Let me assure you that I'm objective and India haven't got the number 1 class of players in all departments. On the other hand England aren't exactly the greatest side in the world either. I'd like to see them beat SA in SA or IND/SL in the subcontinent. I'd wager good money that they won't even with their current team. There is no clear winner in world cricket today. So it goes to say something about the quality of cricket on the whole as well @ Optic - This is a cricket forum and that IS how it works in cricket. Ponting's Australia and Lloyd's WI are unforgettable. They dominated forever. Stop drawing analogies. If you dominate, people remember you. Not if you have X number of points on some ineffectual table designed by equally ineffectual people. Bottom Line - No team is the undisputed no.1.

  • POSTED BY kumarcoolbuddy on | August 15, 2011, 15:24 GMT

    @bhaloniaz, how can you say that this result is expected when India won in ENG earlier and never lost any series since Dhoni's captaincy? Where as ENG won most of the matches in ENG and few in AUS (AUS was already depleted by that time). So technically ENG is yet to win in away series, spin pitches and prove lot. ENG won the series and reached #1 so just enjoy the victory of hard work and don't throw stones on others. When India was on top few fans were rude but not Indian players. But ENG fans, (ex-) players and coach everyone is rude now. Once AUS and India come back with their form you will eat your words. Since India's performance is below average in this series I can't say more than this.

  • POSTED BY SDHM on | August 15, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    @ Steven - better than Broad yes, but the difference between his and Anderson's average is so small as to be nothing - both average 30, nothing incredible but pretty damn decent. A 2-1 win in England is not a thrashing, and neither is a 1-1 at home, unless you have odd ideas as to what a thrashing is. As I said, another 1-1 against India at home and a loss to Australia are pretty big evidence against SA being this juggernaut that some people are building them up to be. And if, as you reckon, these bowlers are bad in the subcontinent (because they've obviously played enough cricket there so far to be judged according to you) then I'm not worried - Sri Lanka and India's bowlers, in relatively helpful conditions, have been dire, so I'd hate to see how they'll go on the roads they'll have to bowl on at home. It's posts like yours that drive me to write posts like the one you complained about!

  • POSTED BY banka on | August 15, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    First Congratulation to England on getting no 1 spot. But English fans-hey guys! we have been shouting at the top of the roof for almost 2 year for our team being number one. Lets us see how much time you get to shout at the top of the roof for your team. All the best to you English fans! Don't be surprise to hear again indian fans shouting from roof top when we take back the no 1 spot!

    By the way, did I say too much??

  • POSTED BY danmcb on | August 15, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    @Dravid_gravitas : "You just don't belong to the top by performing on flat, pace friendly wickets.".... uh?? Normally we call it "flat" when it is *not* pace friendly, no lateral movement, slow bounce, and so on ... good try though mate :-))))

  • POSTED BY chiggers on | August 15, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    @Chandu Kota - if on that basis England don't deserve to be number 1, how could India, whose total series wins in Australia (ever) is 0, be granted that ranking?

  • POSTED BY bouncedout on | August 15, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    You India fans make me laugh.

    When India was No 1 all we heard was how wonderful their batting line up was and how unbeatable they were.

    Well your entire batting line up has now been humbled 3 times in a row (soon to be 4) you have been thrashed out of sight by the new No1 team... accept it with good grace instead of bleating and making excuses.

    England got to number using the same method as India. They deserve to be there, it really is as simple as that.

  • POSTED BY umang.chhabra on | August 15, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    I am also a proud Indian..but English team played like champions and truly deserve to be number 1. Indians definitely did not look as a number 1 side. There is no disputing the numero uno status of English team. Having said that I do believe that Indian team can bounce back anytime (thrust to be provided by the famous batting line up). Moreover, if Indian team does not want such embarassing defeats in future, they have to patiently go through rigourous process of developing young Indian bowling attack and developing a good bench strength. In summary, for Indian cricket team - "Miles to go before you sleep!!"

  • POSTED BY bobmartin on | August 15, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    To all those silly people who are blind to the facts who say England aren't number one can I suggest one simple act which just might (although I won't hold my breath) open your eyes. When the ICC Test rankings are next updated, look and see which country appears at the top. Then ask yourself this question, which country was top of that very same table until a couple of days ago. Now tell me, has the criteria for awarding points changed.. No of course it hasn't. India were top because they accrued more points than the other teams. Now England are top because they have done so. Simple really isn't it. You can moan about past series.. World Cups and other Mickey Mouse cricket... that may make you millionaires, but it doesn't take you to the top of the only table that matters.ie test cricket. Wake up and smell the coffee guys.. England are top, and until someone does what they have just done, that's where they'll remain. If that sticks in your craw... TOUGH

  • POSTED BY kasyapm on | August 15, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    England did play like the no.1 team. I am an Indian fan and I am greatly disappointed by our performance and the magnitude of defeats. Congrats to the English- they have played ruthless, consistent cricket. I don't see them failing miserably in the subcontinent as they have Swann and batsmen who can play spin. That would be a challenge, though. Waiting for the fourth test and I hope there is a contest in at least the last test.

  • POSTED BY blondblackberry on | August 15, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    it would b great if england keep the no.1 spot if they tour srilanka and india but a strong aussie team and india under "dhoni" r far dangerous mind it.

  • POSTED BY adm21 on | August 15, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    @Jakkammadasku : If you look at India and England's most recent away result against each other nation (including this series), then England's results are 3 wins, 1 draw and 4 defeats. India's is 3 wins 2 draws and 3 defeats. Differences are : England lost to SL not drew, England beat Aus not lost, India beat WI not lost.

    So, other than a win in Bangladesh and WI , India have done nothing away.

  • POSTED BY blondblackberry on | August 15, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    i don't think loss of sachin,dravid,laxman wil b a factor i'm dame sure ab't it.it's like indian nation produce fantastic batsmen take a look at history they hav.one time it was gavaskar now sachin in future it can b rohit,raina,kohli,dhoni,tiwari's etc., it is the bowling that's weak especially fast bowlers they come into season over 140's but get reduce to 130's that's the problem.but in spin v got bowlers like ashwin,mishra,bajji,some youngsters too who can bundle opposition at home.

  • POSTED BY sunglassesron on | August 15, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    "Well done England but...." Seems to be the general theme on here. A bit sad as England's performances on previous tours to the subcontinent are largely irrelevant - because this side is far better than them. Even though we won in pak and sl within a matter of months - so what? This is a totally different team and by the time we play pak in dubai in January it'll be nearly 3 years unbeaten : 8 wins and 1 draw. We have Swann and Panesar with a bit of back up from KP to help us win in India. Conditions are important but personnel are more so and India just don't have any decent bowlers and the big 3 might not even be there when we tour next. You'll probably beat us in the Twenty20s though and the one dayers and you'll probably celebrate that vociferously but honestly no proper cricket fan in England cares.

  • POSTED BY joanne_s on | August 15, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    Absolutely loving all the comments on Cricinfo lately by bitter, angry Indian fans twisting logic to insist that England can't be number 1 unless they win a series in India. Funny how they never apply this logic to their own team, who haven't won a series in Australia or South Africa and have just been totally HAMMERED in England. Must hurt a lot, eh, boys? Watching your precious team get totally blown off the field like that. England are number 1 now and you're not, woo-hoo!!!

  • POSTED BY mashed_potatoes on | August 15, 2011, 8:47 GMT

    @Jakkammadasku: well india never beat australia in australia. they managed to draw against SA in SA, but we did the same. You also lost in SL to SL. I agree that england will be thoroughly tested when they tour SL early next year, but we definitely deserve #1 over india.

  • POSTED BY PLAC on | August 15, 2011, 8:30 GMT

    Sick to death of this "England shouldn't be no.1" and "can't win in India" garbage. I simply cannot believe the difference between the two sides in every single department. If the series was played in India, India would be tougher to beat, yes, but most likely we would have a similar result. Can you imagine Cook and Trott on those flat pitches? How would India ever get 20 wickets? They would struggle to get 10. Until there is a contest between these two sides, please respect who is dominant.

  • POSTED BY on | August 15, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    @TheHoneymonster, I disagree. Morne Morkel has a better bowling average that Anderson and Broad. Plus you are forgetting that this side thrashed England in England and were thrashed in South Africa as well. Plus you cant ignore Englands poor performance in the sub-continent. Have you seen how poor some of your quicks are away from home. I am not an India supporter, but by posts like yours I can see why they can get cross.

  • POSTED BY Dronaa on | August 15, 2011, 6:23 GMT

    England deserve to be No.1. That India ever got to be No.1 was just a statistical aberration. The difference between the Aussies & India is that Australia take every tour & opponent seriously. In our case MSD & BCCI assumed that India would mow down England. What happened should be an eye opener to the MSD as well as BCCI. They should realise that gambling blindly may win you some contetst, but test matches can be won in sessions, and for that grit, determination & focus are needed. India were found lacking in all 3, no grit (except for Rahul Dravid, and to a large extent Pravin Kumar), no determination ( except RD & PK), and absolutely no focus. Letting opponents walk off after being 65/6 at Lords and 124/8 at Trentbridge is not what a No.1 team does. Sadly India just proved that the No1. status it got was by fluke and not on merit. Dont fret MSD, you guys never played like the No.1 team, so no point cribbing. See how the other teams value the No1. position.

  • POSTED BY shuvoroy31 on | August 15, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    It is emblematic of the quintessential Indian disingenuity to evade the disorganization of its systems to implicate "excessive cricket" for the team's recent debacle. Can Bal statistically elucidate the extent of extra cricket played by an Indian player as opposed to his international counterparts? Furthermore is there any medical treatise, which the writer is aware of, that has ascertained the exact amount of cricket played by a cricketer to slip into that state of physical and mental fatigue which engenders a performance similar to the Indian fiasco in England? Contrary to most international cricketers the Indian superstars hardly ever grace the mundane playgrounds of domestic cricket. Several bigwigs in the team skipped a full-length overseas tour in the name of excessive cricket. When the rest gained thereof didn't positively manifest in their performance, the author and his ilk got engrossed in validating the antithetical, yet equally untenable, excuse of lack of match practice.

  • POSTED BY unregisteredalien on | August 15, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    Erm, Sambit, I'm dubious about your implication that the players agree there is too much cricket and that the BCCI should be blamed for that. It seems quite obvious to me that even Dhoni and Gambhir saw the hypocrisy in making such claims when they themselves choose to play in IPL for the sake of $$$, regardless of the damage that may do to their own fitness/recovery regimes, test match techniques and national team obligations.

  • POSTED BY mathewiv on | August 15, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    This is so true... but the indian media, jingoistic commentators and viewers never bother to mention this fact about the former no1 Indian team - "The wins were achieved by a few memorable bowling performances, but the batsmen ensured that not many Tests were lost."

    India were deservedly the no.1 team for 2 years, but by no stretch of the imagination was it a balanced team. We havent produced a great bowler since Kumble. Other than Zaheer no bowler has had even a 'competitive' average. Thank Dhoni for finding wins where we had none.

  • POSTED BY kumarcoolbuddy on | August 15, 2011, 2:57 GMT

    Let me explain a simple theory. There are two sticks A and B. A is little bit larger than B. If you want to make stick B larger than A there are 3 options. First one is to increase the size of B keeping A's size fixed. Second is you can increase B's size little bit and decrease A's size little bit. Third option is to decrease A's size keeping B's size fixed. Ultimately in all the 3 options B will be larger than A. I think second option applies for ENG's #1 spot. It has improved a lot while India played very badly. It is not excuse but it is India's fault for playing badly. India won in ENG, NZ, SL, WI, draw in SA, close series in AUS. So this is definitely unbelievable failure from India.

  • POSTED BY Jakkammadasku on | August 15, 2011, 2:51 GMT

    did all the experts predicting england would be the number 1 team for quite sometime realise that if SA wins their 2 home series this year they will be the number 1 ending england's brief stay at the top? even better, england plays SL in SL next march and if they can't beat SL any guesses where they would fall back in rankings?

  • POSTED BY kumarcoolbuddy on | August 15, 2011, 2:35 GMT

    @Lorien.forest, critics are always behind #1 team. But remember that a team who performs well on Spin pitches is as good as team who performs well on bouncy and fast pitches. India WAS even lot better because it won in ENG, NZ, SL, WI, draw in SA and very close matches in AUS with terrific comeback and performance. India beat strongest AUS team in 2008. Despite great performance everyone criticized India for being #1, why? What do you say about ENG who won only in ENG and AUS then? Many silly questions if you talk about ranking. No team goes to #1 spot easily. But just enjoy the victory of your team regardless of ranking. You don't need to get disappointed by critics. Let ENG answer the critics silently by winning in sub-continent.

  • POSTED BY on | August 15, 2011, 2:28 GMT

    The most impressive thing/difference in English bowling is that they have a wide variety of deliveries unlike Indian bowlers except Praveen Kumar(but hes just too slow to be that effective)!inswinger,outswinger,offcutter,sharp bouncers, deadly yorkers(slow/fast) , they seems to have everything at their disposal! most importantly two of them are very good batsmen as well (Broad & Bresnan), I wish them a good run at the top !

  • POSTED BY Jakkammadasku on | August 15, 2011, 0:07 GMT

    Other than one away series in aus, other than Bangladesh eng haven't beaten anyone away. would be interesting to see how they would perform outside knowing the fact that every non winning game against the lower ranked teams would lose them points

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | August 14, 2011, 22:35 GMT

    @Optic. I have read so much garbage here by people who probably have never stepped foot on a competitive cricket field & most things they post just make me laugh. THANK YOU for placing something resembling an intelligent response here. I am an Aussie, but even I acknowledge that England deserve their position based on recent performances, and more importantly, they have quality back up players, an essential ingredient to maintain lofty positions. Add to that they are a relatively young side and their short term future looks sound. Past West Indies sides (with 4 quicks and not at great playing spin) used to consistently smash India over there and this England side could well repeat that. And these guys going on about India struggling on seaming wickets yadda, yadda, India didn't do a bad job in previous tours, did they?

  • POSTED BY ayushansh on | August 14, 2011, 20:34 GMT

    To all those people thrashing Team India and jumping in joy--watch out--by the end of next year India will be NO.1 and this same England will be nowhere. Why is it that only India's wins at home is belittled. England won at home to become No.1. Wait till they travel to Asia and see the same BEST bowlers being thrashed and the same BEST batsman being outsmarted. I am a proud Indian and take this loss as one off and I also know that this same Indian team will get back to winning ways. In sports these things happen. Beware the Boycotts, Vaughans, Hussains, Bothams et all.

  • POSTED BY Lorien.forest on | August 14, 2011, 20:06 GMT

    It's sad to see all the comments by Indian fans complaining how England can't be number 1, until we play well in India. However, this is the same system they used to Lord it over the rest of us mere mortals to proclaim that they were the Number 1 team. You can't have your cake and eat it. Either you were the number 1 team in which case England is now, or, we use some other system, like seeing how well a team plays away from home, in which case India (having lost the first three games abysmally) can't be Number 1. I agree that in order to be classed as one of the great teams of all times, England must win in the subcontinent, but even the mighty Aussies at their peak (definitely number 1 to all concerned) struggled to win in India and SL. (And actually, with the form of the England batting line up, India might be in for a bit of a surprise!)

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | August 14, 2011, 19:31 GMT

    guys get real england r #1in the world. no 1s saying they r the best team ever anything but. they have a very good side who score run and bowl sides out. have a good captain and manager and backroom staff. do u think clive lloyd was a good captain or steve waugh or ricky ponting. a captains as good as his team.dpk

  • POSTED BY on | August 14, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    Does the no1 team deserve to be no1? They never won in India in the last 25 years. Never won in SriLanka and Pak in the last 10 years.

  • POSTED BY Puffin on | August 14, 2011, 19:10 GMT

    Yes, I think they belong at the top, for now. It is not so quite so hard to become no1 right now because there is no super-dominant team that needs something extra special to beat, as in 2005. Their bowling attack isn't as good as the recent Australian no1 team and certainly not as good as the WI 80's, but in the current context, it is still excellent. I'm not entirely convinced by the consistency of their batting and the need to rely on their tail to get them out of a mess a bit too often.

    They don't need to win everywhere and whitewash everyone to stay at no1, nobody ever does, but they do need to trample the minnows and also-rans, and do well enough against the top 3 teams. This seems distinctly possible, although they have much to do to match previous great teams.

  • POSTED BY SDHM on | August 14, 2011, 19:00 GMT

    Dean - I reckon that draw was the making of this England side. They were widely expected to cop a thrashing, and they came away with a draw, handing out a pretty hefty thrashing of their own (as well as getting one!). Your argument is flawed though - South Africa have failed to beat both these English and Indian sides at home, and they lost to an Australian team on the wane. Hardly the home form of champions. SA may have bigger and better names in the team - Kallis, Steyn - but this England side is better overall; a much deeper batting line up, better reserves in the bowling department and just a better attack overall. Morkel's record is no better than any of the current English bunch, there is no third seamer to back up the new ball and unless Tahir comes in and starts ripping sides out, England will have the edge.

  • POSTED BY Nerveblood on | August 14, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    Everything goes in cycles in Test cricket, after the prolonged dominance of WI and Aussies in the past, it is actually good to see test teams competing for number 1 spot. That shows that the game of Test cricket is getting competitive that never before in any era. I like world cricket to be like this all time...like other sports nobody knows who is coming to grab number 1 spot. That's the beauty of sport.

  • POSTED BY GRAMMY_SACHIN on | August 14, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    The lack of fight from indians definitely surprised everybody including the indian players. I am sure the likes of Dravid, Sachin & VVS would have been the most hurt.

    As far as the ICC ranking is concerned, it is a fair measure in evaluatingf a team's current performance over period of 2 years. So, India's No.1 ranking till yeaterday was not a fluke but the effect of consistent good quality cricket. Not winning a series in Aus or SA or SL does not de-value the ranking. Also, No.1 need not mean you have to dominate everywhere you go like the old WI or the AUS. . It's the quality of cricket that was played over a period of time.

    At present there are many claimants for the No.1 including SL, PAK, AUS, IND but the one team which come very close is SA (infact they would have snatched it from India much before this ENG, had Morkel survived one more over in Eden in 2010). But really sad to see people rating IND at 6 which only shows their lack of cricketing wisdom or sheer love of IND

  • POSTED BY dgarise on | August 14, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    Sure England has a great team and they have played brilliant cricket but the fact of the matter is it also coincided with really bad cricket from India. Pressure does funny things. Had India batted better would England bowlers been able maintain the same intensity and accuracy level throughout?. As well as England have bowled I think Indian batsmen, by batting badly, have helped them bowl better and look better.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | August 14, 2011, 17:45 GMT

    You just don't belong to the top by performing on flat, pace friendly wickets. You have to perform on challenging spin friendly tracks as well. Let's see how England does on those challenging spin friendly tracks in India and the sub-continent. For now, hearty congratulations to them for making it to the top, though they don't have any meaningful wins in challenging spin friendly conditions on their path to No.1. They might want to set the record straight and succeed on challenging spin friendly tracks. One can't say the same about India who won on all kinds of tracks.

  • POSTED BY Optic on | August 14, 2011, 17:34 GMT

    @Pranav Kidambi I've read some rubbish on here before but how was the Aussie team depleted, they wasn't, Beer was picked because they haven't got a spinner, they've moved on to some dude who's never played before called Lyons. Otherwise it's the same team who went SA and won, so stop making lies up, you look sad. Funny you say no team deserves No1 ranking now England are there, who predictable are some people. How does one decide the top rank if it isn't to be points related, wait till they've dominated the world for 10 years, sorry that's not how it's done in any sport, football, Rugby all have points based rankings.

  • POSTED BY Optic on | August 14, 2011, 17:26 GMT

    @Pranav Kidambi So all it took for the Indians to become No1 was to beat a depleted England side away, draw with SA at home and away and bully minows in your own back yard, well done you.

    @Dean Coetzee Give it a rest, SA lost to Australia in their own back yard and they've had 2 chances to go to NO1 yet they've failed miserably to beat India at home or away, so what you arguing about.

  • POSTED BY m_ilind on | August 14, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    Eng's dominance over India has been in the making for some time now. They nearly beat India in the WC chasing India's 329, we all remember how the crowd were stunned into silence by the strokeplay of Strauss/Bell until Zak broke through; they beat India in WC T20 in Eng using short pitched stuff, and now in this Test series, they have taken India apart.

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | August 14, 2011, 16:02 GMT

    SA had also lost to SL away although they beat England away and drew with India away. But, the defeat to a lower ranked Australia at home (Johnson's heroics) has hurt them badly. They have the opportunity to set that record straight very soon. If they beat Australia, they will become #1. And, they would deserve it.

    @Cpt,Meanster, keep clutching at that straw. England bowlers may not find it as easy as in England for sure but they will DEFINITELY prepare better than India did for this series and will learn to adapt to Indian conditions. Safe to say they will not be hammered. Before the Ashes down under, James Anderson prepared hard with the kookaburra and in hardly swing friendly conditions devastated Australia. The Indian senior players will be a year and a half older when that series starts and who knows how many would still be playing. It is proved that the younger players aren't a patch on the seniors. It would be a close fought series for sure though. At least,v hope so

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | August 14, 2011, 15:54 GMT

    @Pranav Kidambi, Agreed, no one team is a cut above the rest. Wonder if you thought the same way before India's tour of England though? The rankings just give an indication as to who is the best at the moment. England's, and India's, rise to the top were not built on the basis of one or two series. In the last two years and more, England have stayed undefeated in a series (won 8 out of 9 series), won 19 out of 30 tests (many of them by huge margins, may I add) and lost only 4. This includes away series draw in SA and wins in Australia and Bangladesh and home wins against India, Australia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. England would be fully aware that they have to achieve a lot more - like beat India and SL away and SA home at least. But, that would be to sustain the #1 position. India have stayed undefeated at home for 7 years now and had defeated England (before this series), NZ and WI away and drew with SA and SL away.

    SA had lost to Australia at home and drew with Eng and Ind.

  • POSTED BY bobbo2 on | August 14, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    I fear India is starting to see the fruits of the IPL. Meaningless slogfests don't prepare players for when real skill and application is needed

  • POSTED BY inswing on | August 14, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    It was a comprehensive pummeling. But nither england's batting nor bowling is as good as it looks in these series. The batting looks good only because of the weakness of India in these conditions. With missing khan and ishanth, harbhajan, and Sri bowling badly, there was not much left in tank and it was exploited wonderfully by the English. Their tail is good but not -that- good. And don't underestimate the importance of dropped slip catches when your bowling is weak. Dravid costs more that way than he scores.

  • POSTED BY GHemrajani on | August 14, 2011, 13:58 GMT

    As an England fan, I can tell you that I didnt miss having a tight contest. I wanted England to have a killer instinct to demolish the opposition and grind them down (and make it an uneven contest). This is a mark of a Champion and has been something lacking in them for a long time. There was a lot of planning put by the England team to work each batsman out and for their own batsman to get in the habit of making big hundreds. This series will serve England good for the sub-continent whereas for India it will be a smalll matter which will be quickly forgotten once the one dayers start.

  • POSTED BY Yabba on | August 14, 2011, 13:23 GMT

    England deserve to be No1. They have not lost a Test series for 2 years, having beaten India, Australia, West Indies, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and drew in South Africa. The main reason they deserve to be top though is that they play as a team and have a wonderful team ethic. They are not a bunch of 3 or 4 talented individuals carrying the rest - they all contribute.

    England also prepare thoroughly - look at what they did in Australia - they made sure they were in a very good shape to beat them by playing the proper amount of warm up games. That's where they are better than India - whose players would rather cash in on the IPL than be prepared to play international Test cricket.

    England also have such strength in depth. England have bowlers of the quality of Tremlett, Finn, Onions - all of whom would walk into other international sides - in the wings and a depth of young batsmen waiting to get their chance. India lost one bowler and they were found out...

  • POSTED BY on | August 14, 2011, 12:57 GMT

    it's almost funny how everyone seems so eager to declare england as the more deserving no. 1..... people can be such big hypocrates.... when india won convincingly at home they were dubbed doubtful world no. 1s!!!!

    they kept that ranking for almost two years...... and england suddenly becomes the "more" deserving no. 1!!!!!

    would be interesting to see what happens if india wins the upcoming series back home.....

  • POSTED BY SDHM on | August 14, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    @ Dean Coetzee - I actually think that draw in South Africa made this side. They were widely expected to can a thrashing, and came away with a hard fought draw (including handing out one of those thrashings themselves). You conveniently forget to mention that despite beating Australia in Oz, you let them come back and beat you on your home patch straight afterwards, and you let this Indian team come away with a draw as well as us - I wouldn't call that the home form of champions. I feel England are a better overall side than SA - we might lack the stars like Kallis and Steyn, but we bat deeper and our attack is better overall. Morkel is no better than any of our seamers (in fact, I'd take Tremlett or Bresnan any day) and to try and claim Tsotsobe could get anywhere near this side would be the height of optimism. Unless Tahir comes in and starts ripping out sides straight away, you lack the intensity that this English attack can apply on sides. Should be a cracker of a series next year!

  • POSTED BY notvery on | August 14, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    @landl47 - mate seriously.... better than Mcgrath, Warne, Gillespie and lee/kasper/etc???? i think there is a long way to go until your vision is true. As an english fan i hope it comes true but its at best hopeful...for a while at least.

  • POSTED BY demon_bowler on | August 14, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    Wish this was a five-test series. Knocking India into third place by winning the final test will be fun, but England have been cheated of the opportunity to leave deep scars on this Indian side.

  • POSTED BY Lord.emsworth on | August 14, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    I have read most of the comments on the cricinfo forums and even the ESPN article citing former Indain captains opinions etc. I am afraid that contrary to what is almost generally expressed by these gentlemen its not being underprapared or overburdned that has been India's downfall. On the contrary its the ageing super stars that are responsible albeit through no fault of theirs. You cant expect middle aged players like Laxman, Tendulkar and Dravid to go on forever. Age takes its toll and reflexes arent the same. Even 'Saviour' Shewag is well past 30 and so is Dhoni and Khan. Time to forget about the deserved nr. 1 ranking and rebuild India. Look to a new world beating team in 5 years time.....

  • POSTED BY on | August 14, 2011, 10:47 GMT

    India have done little more than to make up the numbers in this series. The series was lost when Zaheer Khan hobbled off the ground on Day 1.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | August 14, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    @Dean Coetzee, spot on, people like landl47 are so one eyed they can't understand what's right in front of them. Comparing them to the WI and Aussie sides is ridiculous. Aussies and WI dominated all (decent) forms of the game. England are floundering at best when it comes to ODIs. Although tests are the greatest format, they certainly aren't dominating WORLD CRICKET as the two aforementioned sides did.

  • POSTED BY Dannov747 on | August 14, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    @Pranav. Yes, obviously England is not a cut above India in test matches. Obviously.

    The great thing about this rise to number 1 is that it is because of young cricketers like Cook and Broad that we did it. These cricketers will be playing for another 10 years so England might sustain this for a while. unless they are overtaken by SA. India on the other hand was never truly number 1. It wins all its home matches and loses three quarters of its away ones. A number 1 team wins in all conditions. India does, however, have the greatest pool of talent of any cricket country. If only they were not wasting it on the IPL.

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | August 14, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    Pranav.so if England are not that good for beating the Aussies then where does that leave India? I have never seen an international team care less. Maybe instead of playing 20 20 the bowlers could learn how to get people out.Kumar is a good whole hearted bowler and obviously cares but apart from Dravid the rest of the team are not worth it.

  • POSTED BY george204 on | August 14, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    @Pranav Kidambi: Since the 3 successive series losses against SA, India & WI in 2008, England's series results read W,W, D, W, W,W,W,W,W. That's why they have, and deserve, the No1 ranking.

  • POSTED BY andrew-schulz on | August 14, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    'England might need to take their winning game to the sub-continent'. Well yes, they have been crushed in 8 games at last journey to India Pakistan and SriLanka, not looking like winning one, and were woeful in winning in Bangladesh. But they might also need to take their winning game to the West Indies also, might they not? Oh, and South Africa. Oh, and even though they won in New Zealand, they were poor there also. All in all, a pathetic away record, one which leaves them an absolute mile short of a genuine number one. As India have always been.

  • POSTED BY on | August 14, 2011, 7:16 GMT

    So all it takes is one home series and an ashes win against a depleted aussie side( featuring, of all people, michael beer) to call England no.1? I think this rating system is distorted. Neither India nor England, or any other team that matter are a cut above all the others.

  • POSTED BY nickcarter80 on | August 14, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    Depending on the test performances during this year, these are the top 5 teams in the world at the moment. Any unbiased cricket fan will agree with me on this (except Indian fans of course, they are afraid of the reality). 1. England 2. SA 3. Australia 4. Sri Lanka 5. Pakistan Wait …I hear Indians are crying. Don't cry babies. India is number 6 at the moment. But don't dream for too long, NZ, WI or Zim might take the no.6 spot if Indians play like this for few more matches.

  • POSTED BY venkatesh018 on | August 14, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    But are there anyone to absorb these lessons in the BCCI ?

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | August 14, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    After England won back the Ashes in a great series in 2005, no one could have expected them to lose 0-5 in the next Ashes contest in Australia. The point is that that team was just as good as the one in 2005 and yet they lost. There were injuries to key players, loss of form and possibly, luck. That loss made England look ridiculous just as India has been made to look after Edgbaston. But I feel it was just as well that this has happened because the the BCCI had probably come to beieving that all they needed to do was to come to office for India to be No 1 for life.This is the time to have separate teams for the 3 formats of the game. There should be a pool of 60 players from which players should be selected. We must get a really good bowling coach like Fanie De Villiers or Shaun Pollock. Duncan Fletcher is an excellent batting coach. What is important is to get the views of Anil Kumble who has the vision and wisdom that can benefit India like nothing else can.

  • POSTED BY South_Indian on | August 14, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    Whole cricket world is celebrating England's victory, boy is not it sweet, especially when it comes against India. I am loving it. Take that IPL boys !

  • POSTED BY CRICSL on | August 14, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    What a humiliation the so called world no 01 will be whitewashed soon. SL played better in much cold cloudy condition early part of the summer scored 400+ scores in all three test matches. IND couldn't manage a single 300+ score in six completed innings. How come this happened? Great batting line up with world's best spinner (Harbajan) and pace bowler (Zaheer) according to the Indian fans. The reason for this defeat is not too much of cricket played by IND team it's their mind set. They need to learn how to respect their oppositions. IND players always taking other teams lightly and this is the right lesson given to them by ENG for them to not to under estimate any oppositions in future. Hat's off to ENG…

  • POSTED BY on | August 14, 2011, 5:00 GMT

    An exact replication of my thoughts!

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | August 14, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    England are a very, very good team. This bowling unit is as strong as any I've seen since the great West Indians of the 1980s and early 1990s, and more versatile than that group. The batting is very deep and the batsmen have matured to get to their peak together. The depth of talent is formidable; is there another side which could lose players of the calibre of Trott and Tremlett and yet seem as strong, if not stronger? Has there ever been a substitute better than Bresnan- 12 wickets at 14.75 apiece and 154 runs for twice out in two matches? This Winter is going to provide an interesting form guide, as India and Australia, both destroyed by England in the last year, play each other. If Australia wins, then India weren't the side everyone believed they were. If India wins.... how strong does that make England? For the future, India has to face up to the fact that the great players of the last decade are reaching the end of their careers. This series showed that the end is near.

  • POSTED BY SmellyCat on | August 14, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    Sambit, its easy to be despondent and ride the emotions of public. Indian Cricket team, and Indians in general, was never good at planning and banked mostly on the natural talent. Indians were never dominant nor are the English, by nature, dominant and the No.1 spot will be a musical chair in times to come. They'll be challenged by South Africa, Sri Lanka, India and even Pakistan in the alien conditions.

    At the same time India has won the Emerging Nations trophy and I hope that translates into a healthy future for Indian Cricket. One thing India should learn from this debacle is that they need good bowling attack, pace or spin, that can take wickets or at least restrict oppositions.

    So just keep the faith.

  • POSTED BY on | August 14, 2011, 4:17 GMT

    South Africa BEAT England in England, and England only managed to scrape through for a draw when they toured South Africa. South Africa were the first to beat Australia in Australia recently too. Until such time as England actually beat the current crop of South African players, claiming to be the best side in the world is a bit premature dont you think?

    South Africa also managed to draw with an in form Indian side IN INDIA. If decisions could have been referred when India toured SA, India would have lost that series too.

    Is it too much to ask for perspective here?

    Not only would be comparing the current England side to the great teams be very premature, calling them the best side in the world at the moment is too. On form I would consider them the best side at the moment and thats all the world rankings are an indication of.

  • POSTED BY muski on | August 14, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    Yeah Sambit- You dont expect Shastri or Sunny to speak against BCCI when on commentary. How can you expect Gambhir or MSD to speak against excessive cricket. As an ardent Indian cricket fan, I see an ominous sign here. It is the beginning of a terrible end. With the glorious middle order to retire in the foreseeable future, the batting will be in shambles ( it already is as this tour has thoroughly exposed). After Kumble retired, there is no spinner worth the salt in the horizon. There is no fast bowler who could set the opposition batsmen thinking. We will soon become the laughing stock of the test world with huge financial muscle but with little cricketing sense. It will be the way the community respects a illiterate money lender!!!!!

  • POSTED BY khiladisher on | August 14, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    This looks from all angles to be the start of decay in indian cricket-The decade w,ould be remembered for our great victories overseas{winning about 17 test matches away in major test match countries},also winning series in england-2007-west indies-2006&2011-pakistan-2004-new zealand -20009,also winning 3 test matches in sri lanka&2 each in australia and south africa. THE LAST MAJOR DEFEAT OVERSEAS WAS IN AUSTRALIA -1999 LOOSING 3-0,THIS DEFEAT IS A SHAME AND EMBARRASSMENT TO ALL THE INDIAN FANS-ONCE THE GREAT BATTING SUPERSTARS RETIRE ,WE WILL SEE INDIA JOINING THE BOTTOM HALF OF CRICKET WORLD-INDIA HAS THE WORST BOWLING ATTACK AS WELL AS VERY POOR FIELDERS -IT LOOKS AN UPHILL TASK FOR INDIA IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS INDIA HAS A GREAT HOME RECORD AT HOME ,LOOSING JUST 3 TEST SERIES IN 26 YEARS,HOWEVER LOOKS LIKE WE MIGHT BE BEATEN MORE FREQUENTLY AT HOME IN COMING YEARS.

  • POSTED BY lefty84 on | August 14, 2011, 3:38 GMT

    Well summed up Samit. England has truly played great cricket this summer and have been ruthless in their performance. And they have developed a very good unit that will stay together for atleast another 5 years.

    And they have developed very good bench strength in bowling which many countries currently cannot boast of.

    And for India, BCCI needs to stop thinking money and start thinking quality of cricket. First step in the right direction is not introspect players performance but of that of BCCI committee.

    The politicians and bureaucrats who have never played cricket in their life are sitting and making decisions and they should be shown the door. We have wealth of good ex-cricketers who can run the board and sensible decisions and tour plans will be made.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | August 14, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    Terrific article. India have climbed to number one with an average bowling attack but have an extraordinary captain in Dhoni. This is Dhoni's first series loss as captain, an amazing result. England have now got the best bowling attack in the world and deserve to be the number one contenders for the best in the world. My sense is though that Strauss has still got a lot to learn as captain. He doesn't need to do much at the moment, not with that bowling attack.

  • POSTED BY AncientAstronaut on | August 14, 2011, 1:32 GMT

    Well said, Sambit. India's dependence on an in-form Zaheer was brutally exposed in the third test. And the famed middle order batsmen acted their age together. England has the best bowling unit in the world today, and, although it didn't occur to most happy Indian fans, England always owned the number one position in test match cricket, especially after they annihilated Australia in Australia. Hopefully, India can show that they're still number one in one day internationals, or the world cup victory will look as bad as the number one ranking they temporarily held on to.

  • POSTED BY on | August 14, 2011, 1:23 GMT

    People were calling The Ashes a competition between two minnows just last November. Now it's looking like it'll be the only series worth watching...

  • POSTED BY knowledge_eater on | August 14, 2011, 0:08 GMT

    Could you please be more optimistic about future indian cricketers please? I don't think SRT, RSD and VVS are batting at their best! They did brilliantly between 97-03. That was their peak. Why? Because they were so good and very young. That was their batting age! Did you see what happen when Viru reached his batting age!? Are you seeing Gauti's batting age? I think next brigade will do fantastic. You just have give them space! Yes, England played superb, we have lots of homework to do. I have read worse articles after India's early exit in 07 WC. What happened after 4 years? Baaam! Our very own Gauti and MSD, played brilliant knock in the final. Were we expecting that? They were indeed youngsters compare to generation of 90's SRT and RSD, right? I agree that BCCI needs to reduce number of matches for sure. We are just playing far too many tests and ODIs. Why is that only INDIA, needs to play this much of Cricket and still gets the most amount of scrutiny!!! What are we, World Bank?

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 23:45 GMT

    wow.no comments from any indian....lol

  • POSTED BY EverybodylovesSachin on | August 13, 2011, 23:41 GMT

    ONly way for England is to go DOWNHILL..Will Happen.....I See every atricle has comment section..I think people read comments only no the article Blah Blah..

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 23:35 GMT

    Srilanka was a way better than India in England a month back. They scored 400 twice and even won a test.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | August 13, 2011, 23:26 GMT

    This Indian side was a result of previous administration set up. The BCCI has taken a different direction. With the advent of T20, test cricket was always going to be the most fallible, and the future for India, in test cricket at least, looks very dim as most of the young batsmen are showing techniques totally inadequate for test cricket. T20 culture will be claiming its first major casualy.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 22:59 GMT

    Sambit, the bigger question is where does India Belong. It is rare or maybe never happened before that #1 team takes such a drubbing that one has wonder where do they really stand. I believe that India should be ranked 4th. I believe that England, South Africa and Sri-Lanka are ahead of India. Later this year India's true position in the Cricket ladder would be determined when they Tour Australia. Maybe If India finds enough courage to host Pakistan in Spring 2012 that they would fight it out for the 4th spot.

  • POSTED BY harvinald on | August 13, 2011, 22:57 GMT

    Had that article been written in the 1990s you could have replaced the word "India" with the word "England". At last we have a team who can rightly claim to be the best in the world. I just hope that the arrogance of years gone by is replaced with dignity and respect. Otherwise we could soon be reading another article about England being in the sorry predicament that they were in 10 years ago.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 22:38 GMT

    If Strauss had won the toss in the first two tests, England's margin of victory in those would have been similar. Disastrous though the defeats were for India, the scores make them look better than they actually were.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 22:14 GMT

    how long you will keep your no.01 spot? well lets see....

  • POSTED BY tjsimonsen on | August 13, 2011, 22:13 GMT

    I'm not sure that India are as bad as they have seemed in this series, and consequently, I'm not QUITE as pessimistic about India's test cricket future as Sambit Bal. I think that England simply have played so amazingly that they made India look worse than they really are (same thing happened in the Ashes with Australia. Others have remarked the same on these pages. For someone who has followed international cricket for a couple of decades (and has a keen interest in cricket history as well), it's not all that easy to understand, but I honestly believe it to be the case. India deserved the top ranking when they held it, just as England deserves it now. But now it is up to England to continue to show that they deserve it. The price of being number one is that you have to be number one.

  • POSTED BY ukmenon on | August 13, 2011, 22:09 GMT

    Well written Mr.Sambit Bal.I agree totally when you say"The reason..... is that their batting has not,in the past ten years,been so embarrassing over a period of six innings."Take nothing away from England-they have played great cricket, put in the hard work and determination and deserve to be the n.1 team.Even their body language was far more superior compared to that of the Indians.Right from when they beat the aussies in Australia 3-1,with those huge margins,England send out a strong message to the rest of the teams at the top.Some say it was a depleted aussie team but my question is: can India achieve the same results playing in Australia against the same team?I have serious doubts.Though having said this,I think India made England look stronger than what they are,through an inexplicable failure in all departments in all 3 tests.If India does not come back strongly in the 4th test to avoid a 4-0 whitewash,England will have a psychological edge and the ODI'S will be another 5-0 ww.

  • POSTED BY sm83 on | August 13, 2011, 21:53 GMT

    An honest and non bias article, Sambit.

    We did get stuffed and no use going on about past glory, bad excuses about Zaheer, etc. If you don't even have 2-3 quality bowlers as replacements, well then you are really cant be No.1. !

    The worst part was there was no contest at all - 224 and 240 vs 710/7dec. One English player gets more runs than India can get in each innings and 6 straight innings they can't cross 300, really embarrassing and its getting worse!

    Hope the dictators and arrogant BCCI wake up and smell the coffee!

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | August 13, 2011, 21:37 GMT

    Agree except one thing - this is not India's best possible batting line-up. Pujara instead of Raina would make it complete. Pujara is injured. The next preference would be Yuvraj (injured), Rahane, Kohli, Rohit and, only then, Raina. Raina is not a test class batsman, not in these conditions anyway.

  • POSTED BY Rahulbose on | August 13, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    I can't find an analogy from real life sports for a such a fall from grace. But in fiction, I am reminded of Rocky 3. A pampered and soft Rocky, who is kept at the top spot using dubious matches against weak opponents, gets his head bashed in by a hungry and fit Mr T.

  • POSTED BY Mojoman on | August 13, 2011, 20:48 GMT

    A team with 5 -7 core members that wants to be no 1 at ODI's, IPL, ICC, ICC 20-20 and Test cricket will never stay 1 for any decent period of time.

    The poor BCCI cannot get this simple fact as they are blinded by money....and fire the Head of selectors, the buffoon: Kris Srikanth and things will start improving !! A country of 1.3 Bn people and a rich BCCI does not have the infrastructure to produce fast bowlers. Sad.

  • POSTED BY adrianag on | August 13, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    England have done an exceptional job over the last 12 months in Test cricket and kudos to them. However, their real test will come when they venture out to the warmer and dustier areas of the World, they have been very poor travellers over the years to the Sub-continent. I'm not sure what the FTP brings for them, but if they are to make a few "hard" tours of the sub-continent their hold on the # 1 position could be as tenuous as India's. They don't travel and adapt as well as the Australians and South Africans and in their hearts they still feel (after all these years) a tour of the Indian sub-continent is still a "hardship" tour.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | August 13, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    It's nice to see everyone in agreement that England are deservedly number 1: No one can deny they are the best in the world. The best bowlers, fielders and batsmen, the best team. Number one for a reason. Well played England, yet again, just like in the Ashes last year etc etc, the better team have comprehensively won. No excuses are left in the bag for India to pull out, they've been beaten by a vastly superior team.

  • POSTED BY Rakesh_Sharma on | August 13, 2011, 20:33 GMT

    The problem is that India is not just an ageing side but a team of grand dadies. How can one beleive that in a country where cricket is followed by a billion people you have the same players representing the country for almost twenty years. What is this madness in the name of personal individual accumulated records. If this was the mentality than Australia where a bunh of high class cricketers who were good till their last test match could have easily played for couple of years more and still held up to its no.1. India became no.1 not because they became any stronger than 2001 but because Australia rapidly declined due to mass retirement. You dont need to waste time doing analysis. Can you tell me if India has won 2 tests in a series outside subcontinent of late? No, Infact in 1978 under Bedi India lost 3-2 or under Kapil India won 2-0 in England.So do you mean those sides were any weaker. India just became no.1 due to external factors and series being scheduled in India.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 20:32 GMT

    I hope India sort out their administration soon, a weak India team is not good news for cricket as a global game.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | August 13, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    I admit that England currently look very good. However they WILL be severely tested away from home in the sub-continent (India, SL). I truly believe that England DON'T have the bowling attack to compete with India away. If you closely follow the English bowlers, they all rely heavily on cloudy, swinging conditions. In India, you won't find anything like that. If at all there is anything it will only be for the first 30-45 minutes. So the verdict is that these English bowlers will be hammered. Secondly, England won't remain at no.1 for long. India will DEFINITELY learn from this embarrassment and vow revenge. No team can be judged until they perform overseas. In this regard, India have done remarkably well to be no.1 with limited bowling resources. England have the right personnel at the moment but now the ball is in their court. India have no more no.1 tag to wear so they will play freely. England need to maintain that aura, so will they do it ? that remains to be seen.

  • POSTED BY bhaloniaz on | August 13, 2011, 20:07 GMT

    Most non-indian cricket fans are not caught in surprise. After England winning convincingly in Aus, it was not farfetched that England can do that to India in a favorable condition (india beat aus in India and Australia beat India in Australia). The tests that india won they played at home ground with two spinners, Zaheer and two spinners bowled the most overs. So indian lack of top class fast bowlers (other than Zaheer) was covered up in a degree. It was not unpredictable that Raina, Shewag, Ghamvir would have hard time in england (except for Gavasker, Amarnath and Dravid, it took a few foreign tours before indian batsmen get used to facing the quicks). I am surprised that media and indian fans are so surprised. I am sure indian cricketers(specially Sachin) knew it would be a tough battle.

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  • POSTED BY bhaloniaz on | August 13, 2011, 20:07 GMT

    Most non-indian cricket fans are not caught in surprise. After England winning convincingly in Aus, it was not farfetched that England can do that to India in a favorable condition (india beat aus in India and Australia beat India in Australia). The tests that india won they played at home ground with two spinners, Zaheer and two spinners bowled the most overs. So indian lack of top class fast bowlers (other than Zaheer) was covered up in a degree. It was not unpredictable that Raina, Shewag, Ghamvir would have hard time in england (except for Gavasker, Amarnath and Dravid, it took a few foreign tours before indian batsmen get used to facing the quicks). I am surprised that media and indian fans are so surprised. I am sure indian cricketers(specially Sachin) knew it would be a tough battle.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | August 13, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    I admit that England currently look very good. However they WILL be severely tested away from home in the sub-continent (India, SL). I truly believe that England DON'T have the bowling attack to compete with India away. If you closely follow the English bowlers, they all rely heavily on cloudy, swinging conditions. In India, you won't find anything like that. If at all there is anything it will only be for the first 30-45 minutes. So the verdict is that these English bowlers will be hammered. Secondly, England won't remain at no.1 for long. India will DEFINITELY learn from this embarrassment and vow revenge. No team can be judged until they perform overseas. In this regard, India have done remarkably well to be no.1 with limited bowling resources. England have the right personnel at the moment but now the ball is in their court. India have no more no.1 tag to wear so they will play freely. England need to maintain that aura, so will they do it ? that remains to be seen.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 20:32 GMT

    I hope India sort out their administration soon, a weak India team is not good news for cricket as a global game.

  • POSTED BY Rakesh_Sharma on | August 13, 2011, 20:33 GMT

    The problem is that India is not just an ageing side but a team of grand dadies. How can one beleive that in a country where cricket is followed by a billion people you have the same players representing the country for almost twenty years. What is this madness in the name of personal individual accumulated records. If this was the mentality than Australia where a bunh of high class cricketers who were good till their last test match could have easily played for couple of years more and still held up to its no.1. India became no.1 not because they became any stronger than 2001 but because Australia rapidly declined due to mass retirement. You dont need to waste time doing analysis. Can you tell me if India has won 2 tests in a series outside subcontinent of late? No, Infact in 1978 under Bedi India lost 3-2 or under Kapil India won 2-0 in England.So do you mean those sides were any weaker. India just became no.1 due to external factors and series being scheduled in India.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | August 13, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    It's nice to see everyone in agreement that England are deservedly number 1: No one can deny they are the best in the world. The best bowlers, fielders and batsmen, the best team. Number one for a reason. Well played England, yet again, just like in the Ashes last year etc etc, the better team have comprehensively won. No excuses are left in the bag for India to pull out, they've been beaten by a vastly superior team.

  • POSTED BY adrianag on | August 13, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    England have done an exceptional job over the last 12 months in Test cricket and kudos to them. However, their real test will come when they venture out to the warmer and dustier areas of the World, they have been very poor travellers over the years to the Sub-continent. I'm not sure what the FTP brings for them, but if they are to make a few "hard" tours of the sub-continent their hold on the # 1 position could be as tenuous as India's. They don't travel and adapt as well as the Australians and South Africans and in their hearts they still feel (after all these years) a tour of the Indian sub-continent is still a "hardship" tour.

  • POSTED BY Mojoman on | August 13, 2011, 20:48 GMT

    A team with 5 -7 core members that wants to be no 1 at ODI's, IPL, ICC, ICC 20-20 and Test cricket will never stay 1 for any decent period of time.

    The poor BCCI cannot get this simple fact as they are blinded by money....and fire the Head of selectors, the buffoon: Kris Srikanth and things will start improving !! A country of 1.3 Bn people and a rich BCCI does not have the infrastructure to produce fast bowlers. Sad.

  • POSTED BY Rahulbose on | August 13, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    I can't find an analogy from real life sports for a such a fall from grace. But in fiction, I am reminded of Rocky 3. A pampered and soft Rocky, who is kept at the top spot using dubious matches against weak opponents, gets his head bashed in by a hungry and fit Mr T.

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | August 13, 2011, 21:37 GMT

    Agree except one thing - this is not India's best possible batting line-up. Pujara instead of Raina would make it complete. Pujara is injured. The next preference would be Yuvraj (injured), Rahane, Kohli, Rohit and, only then, Raina. Raina is not a test class batsman, not in these conditions anyway.

  • POSTED BY sm83 on | August 13, 2011, 21:53 GMT

    An honest and non bias article, Sambit.

    We did get stuffed and no use going on about past glory, bad excuses about Zaheer, etc. If you don't even have 2-3 quality bowlers as replacements, well then you are really cant be No.1. !

    The worst part was there was no contest at all - 224 and 240 vs 710/7dec. One English player gets more runs than India can get in each innings and 6 straight innings they can't cross 300, really embarrassing and its getting worse!

    Hope the dictators and arrogant BCCI wake up and smell the coffee!