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The series was preceded by the decision of some players to stay away on safety grounds (the 9/11 attacks happened weeks before the start) and then by some tired politicking by both boards. But on the field, it provided its share of entertaining cricket. India took the series thanks to their 10-wicket win in the first Test at Chandigarh, with Harbhajan Singh and Kumble doing the damage. England bounced back at Ahmedabad even without Graham Thorpe, who decided only hours before the start to fly home at once for family reasons. They dominated large tracts of the match, but ultimately lacked the firepower to force the victory. Overcast skies - floodlights were in use throughout - and increasingly unseasonal rain consigned Bangalore to the scrapheap. Hussain led England well on and off the field, but his use of Ashley Giles to bowl ultra negatively to stifle Tendulkar was rather tedious, not to mention ineffective. The one-day series resumed after Christmas - England went home in between - and at 3-1 India were cruising, but England leveled with a two-run win at Delhi and a last-gasp five-run win in the decider at Mumbai. The sight of a pale and shirtless Andrew Flintoff racing round the stadium in delight was one not to be forgotten.
Tests: India 1 England 0 Drawn 2
ODIs: India 3 England 3
A see-saw four-Test series ended square, but not before both sides had enjoyed periods of dominance. England got off to a solid start with a fairly comprehensive win at Lord's where their batting held firm after India's first-innings had let them down. The second Test at Trent Bridge was another high-scoring match, England making 617 (Michael Vaughan 197). The series came alive at Headingley when India amassed 628 for 8 - hundreds from Rahul Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly - and romped to an innings victory. The series decider at The Oval ended with a washed out last day, but the match had been decided by a perfect pitch as both sides passed 500. In the one-day NatWest series which preceded the Test, India won a remarkable final, scoring 326 for 8 to win with three balls to spare, and after slumping to 146 for 5.
Tests: England 1 India 1 Drawn 2
ODIs: India 2 England 1
A quickfire three-match one-day series was jammed in ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy, and the first two matches, won by England, were limited-overs cricket at its most tedious with the result never really in doubt. The third game at Lord's was more exciting as England recovered from 62 for 6 (chasing 204) to get within striking distance, although realistically they were always behind the clock.
ODIs: England 2 India 1
A drawn triumph of scuffle over adversity. England, bereft of their captain, Michael Vaughan; leading spinner, Ashley Giles; star swinger, Simon Jones and their top-order talisman, Marcus Trescothick, emerged with a draw. Led from the front by Andrew Flintoff, England had Matthew Hoggard to rely upon as their best bowler (picking up 6 for 57, the figures by an Englishman in India since 1979-80), proving he was far from the fodder everyone expected he would be. India took a series lead in the second Test at Mohali thanks to the emergence of Munaf Patel, son of a farmer and an explosive fast bowler who took seven wickets in the match. But it was England's resurgence in the third Test at Mumbai which characterised the series, Flintoff citing Johnny Cash's 'Ring of Fire' as the tune which inspired his troops to a thumping 212-run win. It was the unlikely face of Shaun Udal, on his 37th birthday, who stole the show, picking up 4 for 14 prompting their coach, Duncan Fletcher, to rate the victory as highly as anything he had achieved in his tenure.
Tests: India 1 England 1
ODIs: India 5 England 1
India secured their first series win in England since 1986, thanks to a compelling victory in the second Test at Trent Bridge, and a large slice of luck in the first at Lord's, where bad weather swept in on the final day to thwart England's victory surge. The third Test was drawn on a featherbed at The Oval, in a match notable for Anil Kumble's maiden Test hundred, 17 years and 118 Tests after his debut at Old Trafford in 1990. The man of the series, however, was Zaheer Khan, whose deadly left-arm swing from around the wicket briefly invited comparisons with Wasim Akram in his pomp. Zaheer's finest hour was also England's lowest ebb - at Trent Bridge, where he took nine wickets in the match having been riled while batting by an apparent prank involving jelly beans on the pitch. England did, however, hit back with a 4-3 win in the seven-match ODI series that followed. Dimitri Mascarenhas's five sixes in an over from Yuvraj Singh was the highlight.
Tests: England 0 India 1
ODIs: England 4 India 3
In a series that will be remembered more for political and emotional matters than those on the field, India crushed England in the first five of the seven ODIs -- on the back of some devastating innings from Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag -- before tragedy struck in the form of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai on November 26, leading to the last two ODIs being cancelled and casting a doubt over the Test series as the England team headed back home. But in a decision hailed as extremely brave, England returned to compete in the two-Test series, earning them a heroes' welcome in India. The first match at Chennai showcased Test cricket at it's finest; Andrew Strauss hit centuries in both innings and Graeme Swann announced himself to the world, leaving India needing 387 from their second innings. Enter Sehwag with a 68-ball 83, setting the match up for a dream finish: Sachin Tendulkar getting the winning runs and his 41st Test century off the same delivery, an innings the Mumbaikar went on to dedicate to the victims of the attack. The second Test at Mohali, after promising to head into another interesting final day, ended in a tame draw after a delayed declaration by India, a decision that earned them a lot of flak.
ODIs: India 5 England 0
Tests: India 1 England 0
England's climb to No. 1 was confirmed during this series, which became one-way traffic against an increasingly dispirited India side. It started competitively at Lord's, with a fantastic Test including a double-hundred for Kevin Pietersen which ranked among his finest innings as it started on a cloudy, bowler-friendly, first day. But India lost Zaheer Khan on that first day and England piled up a match-controlling total before the home side's quick bowlers, including a rejuvenated Stuart Broad, worked through India's strong line-up. Rahul Dravid became the first batsman in the side to have his name on the honours board with a fine century. Matt Prior's fantastic hundred steadied an England wobble and set a demanding chase, then, in front of a packed Monday crowd, on a pitch still good for batting, Broad, James Anderson, Chris Tremlett and Graeme Swann bowled as a pack to dismantle the visitors.
India responded well at the start of the second Test at Trent Bridge, having England in trouble at 124 for 8, before valuable lower-order runs kept them in the game. Then, after India took a lead, Broad claimed a hat-trick in front of his home crowd. England's second innings was marshalled by Ian Bell, promoted to No. 3 after an injury to Jonathan Trott, and he scored a majestic hundred but the innings was tinged by controversy. On the stroke of tea on the third day Bell thought he'd struck a boundary and that the ball was dead, but the fielder had stopped it and as Bell wandered off for the break he was run out. Initially the decision stood but during the interval, after discussions between both teams, MS Dhoni reversed his appeal. It's doubtful the course of the match was altered and on the fourth day Tim Bresnan took his first five-wicket haul in Tests to secure a win.
From there on, India were broken. Alastair Cook piled up a monumental 294 at Edgbaston, in a crushing innings victory that secured England the No. 1 Test ranking, then at The Oval there was a double hundred for Bell and another dazzling show from Pietersen. Dravid, in what was a magnificent series, responded to being asked to open by carrying his bat for 146 but India still followed on. The final day was shaping to be about Sachin Tendulkar as he approached his 100th international hundred but on 91 he was given lbw to Bresnan. From there India collapsed. Again.
Tests: England 4 India 0
ODIs: England 4: India 0
For Australia, India was their final frontier and likewise England could not be considered a great team until they had beaten India in their own backyard. It was a series as big, if not bigger, than the Ashes with the hosts spoiling for revenge after their humiliating whitewash in the previous meeting. England arrived with huge doubts about their ability to play spin and their greatest fears were realised in the first Test as they were pummelled by Cheteshwar Pujara's unbeaten 206 and Pragyan Ojha's 5 for 45 that made England follow-on. They went on to lose comfortably but an epic Alastair Cook 176 opened their eyes to what could be done.
They took that inspiration to Mumbai and picked Monty Panesar alongside Graeme Swann and the pair produced the greatest bowling performance by two England spinners for 54 years. Panesar and Swann claimed 19 wickets in the match as England announced to the world that they could compete in the subcontinent. The victory also featured Kevin Pietersen reaching new levels of mastery with 186 - perhaps his greatest Test innings. The build up to the third Test centred on a row between MS Dhoni and 83-year-old Calcutta groundsman Prabir Mukherjee over how the pitch should be prepared. The surface that emerged provided no obvious help to India as Alastair Cook's 190 helped England rack up 523. This time the reverse-swinging ball was England's most potent weapon. James Anderson and Steven Finn shared six second-innings wickets and the tourists knocked off 41 to take the lead in the series. On the brink of victory, a slow, low wicket in Nagpur was England's dream and five days of grind gave them the draw to seal the series, a match in which Joe Root made his Test debut at just 21 years old and scored a remarkably composed first-innings 73 that boosted England's wobbly position and hinted at the player he could become.
England had further joy in sharing the T20 series through Eoin Morgan's last-ball six in Mumbai and then making 325 to take the opening ODI in the new year. But any hope their 50-over demons in India were banished proved premature as they were skittled in the next two matches before falling well short of a competitive score in the fourth ODI. The seaming conditions of Dharamsala allowed them to bring respectability to the scoreline in the final fixture.
Tests: India 1 England 2
T20s: India 1 England 1
ODIs: India 3 England 2
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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