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England v India, 4th npower Test, The Oval

Are England great or India wretched?

A supposedly marquee series has grown increasingly surreal and thrown up plenty of questions

Sambit Bal at The Oval

August 22, 2011

Comments: 199 | Text size: A | A

Virender Sehwag was bowled through the gate by Graeme Swann, England v India, 4th Test, The Oval, 4th day, August 21, 2011
Sehwag's dismissal on day four at The Oval tells the story of the gap between the two sides © Getty Images
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It is not even a month ago, but that magic Monday at Lord's now seems so distant. The series was alive, a Test match was on the line, tickets were going for a song, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were at the crease, there remained the prospect of Sachin Tendulkar's 100th hundred, and the crowd streamed in like they never had in a hundred years. From that day on, the series has grown progressively more surreal.

What do you make of England sauntering to 710 for 7 and India sinking to 130 for 7? Have England somehow managed to combine the might of the West Indians of the '70s and the Australians of the noughties? Or have India turned into the new Bangladesh? Bangladesh might take offence at that suggestion: they did manage to drag a Test to the final session last season in England, and scored 382 in only their second innings of the tour.

Exaggeration aside, this series has suspended our sense of reality. Have England really become awe-inspiringly good, or has India's awfulness made them look so? Conversely, have India, undefeated in a Test series since August 2008 before this, become utterly appalling in a matter of months, or have England dragged them there with the force of their performances?

Some questions within the questions. Has this Indian batting line-up, universally hailed as the finest in recent history, suffered a colossal and collective loss of form, or has it merely been found out? Is Rahul Dravid, who was in the most prolonged slump of his career until about a couple of years ago, twice as good as all of his team-mates in swinging and seaming conditions? Have the conditions really been that tough, or have the Indian batsmen made them look so?

Have England stitched together an attack rivalling the potency of the West Indians, or have they been flattered somewhat in comparison with the Indian bowlers? And subsequently, have England built the mightiest of batting machines, or have they merely plundered the most wretched set of bowlers to have hit these shores in years?

Is Stuart Broad the new Andrew Flintoff? And - can't help this one really - is Amit Mishra a better batsman than he is a bowler?

As always, the truth is perhaps somewhere in between. As Rahul Dravid, the only Indian player to have enhanced his reputation in this series, said in an interview before the final Test, England were always expected to play well in these conditions. "But we expected us to do better."

Dravid's own example bears his case. By the time his work in this series was finally over in the final session of the fourth day, he had batted 965 balls, and in keeping with his status as the man who has batted the most balls in Test history, it is the highest in the series. It has taken enormous skills, powers of concentration, mental toughness, and a sense of mission. Some of the periods he has batted through here must count among the most challenging in his career, but for large parts of his vigils, he has looked untroubled, his judgement of both length and line immaculate, his footwork sure, and his choice of strokes nearly flawless.

When Amit Mishra stuck with him yesterday, defending tightly and then playing a few shots of his own, the matter was put in some perspective. For the first time in many sessions, England had to dig deep for a wicket. Their bowlers misfired occasionally, and Ravi Bopara had to be summoned for an over. India, 103 for 5 overnight, lost only one wicket in over two hours of play. It finally felt like a contest. Of course, the partnership, India's highest in the Test so far, yielded only 87 runs, and to put the gulf between the sides in context, England's highest in the match, between Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell, was worth 350.

When Dravid bats, he generally carries the look of a man bearing the weight of the world, but last evening he managed a smile. Stuart Broad had just beaten him with a ball that shaped in, rose and angled away. The smile carried both the recognition that there was nothing he could have done to play the ball, and perhaps also, as Sanjay Manjrekar pointed out, resignation and irony.

Not one ball in the 153 overs that India bowled, a majority of which Dravid spent crouching hopefully at first slip, had anywhere near the venom or threat that that one delivery from Broad did. Awful as they have been, there can be a touch of consideration for the Indian batsmen: the vastness of the gulf between the bowling sides has been very real.

 
 
Is Stuart Broad the new Andrew Flintoff? And is Amit Mishra a better batsman than he is a bowler?
 

Apart from Dravid's three hundreds - only 20 times in the history of the game has a batsman scored three hundreds in a series to end up on the losing side - every performance of substance has come from the English players. Pietersen has resurrected his career in splendid fashion; Ian Bell has built a monumental case for the No. 3 spot; Alastair Cook has provided further evidence of his appetite for runs; Matt Prior has turned a couple of good team scores into unassailable ones; each of their quick bowlers has put in match-winning performances, and Graeme Swann is now on the verge of doing so.

Beyond Dravid, and to a smaller extent, Praveen Kumar, India have only flashes to take home. Ishant Sharma's spell before lunch on the fourth day at Lord's; Sreesanth in the first session at Trent Bridge; a beautiful cameo from VVS Laxman in the first innings at Trent Bridge; a few back-foot drives from Sachin Tendulkar; two punchy innings from Mahendra Singh Dhoni; and India's magnanimity in recalling Bell after he had been silly enough to run himself out.

The reality that matters has been in the numbers. So far England have scored 2809 runs in six innings for the loss of 47 wickets at an average of 59.76. India's tally stands at 1890 for 73 at 25.89. That makes England, statistically, more than twice as good as India.

Of course, India could have been better prepared. Of course, the batsmen could have applied themselves better. And of course, they should have been more purposeful in the field. But in the final analysis, India have been out-skilled. Swann's dismissal of Sehwag yesterday evening provided the perfect illustration.

With a king pair and a first-over dismissal behind him, Sehwag was as circumspect and vigilant as he has ever been in his career, playing out maidens, not being baited into playing the uppercut, and not charging down to the spinner. Yet Swann conjured up the offspinner's dream dismissal: the batsman enchanted into the lunging drive, the bat pulling away from pad as the ball dips, and then snaking in through the gap to find the stumps.

It was a poor stroke from Sehwag, driving against the spin on a turning wicket without getting near the ball. But he was drawn into it by the flight and then beaten in the air. That has been the story of the series. England have been merciless in exploiting every Indian weakness.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (August 26, 2011, 13:40 GMT)

Fahim

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Posted by   on (August 25, 2011, 4:33 GMT)

W A N T E D !!! Talented cricketers required for a National Team! Ideal candidates must be capable of playing good cricket other than Home Grounds particularly on foreign pitches. Experience in playing ENGLISH CONDITIONS will be an added advantage!! Apply to... Indian Cricket Board!!

Posted by Famush on (August 24, 2011, 13:57 GMT)

I just want to say is that some of these indian fans are kidding themselves, when they say that England are not No.1. Stats don't lie and England are the best REAL CRICKET team in the world at the moment and have been steadily climbing up the rankings over the past couple of years by playing excellent cricket. They have been consistent in their play and the nearest team to them in quality are the South Africans. A measure of what a good team is not just the 1st eleven, QUALITY in depth is what is required and that is what the great Australian and West Indies teams of the past have had.

Posted by jonesy2 on (August 24, 2011, 9:12 GMT)

Right Paddock ---sorry i think youve got me wrong. i agree with you completely, im not talking retropectively. maybe what i wrote didnt come out right. england are overrated and are far from a great side and will be thumped in series against decent sides then in the ashes 2013- thats what i was getting at.

Posted by charlie1863 on (August 24, 2011, 7:26 GMT)

Indian Cricketers in the aftermath of World Cup win & euphoria that came with it did not show sufficient DESIRE to win this MARQUEE Series. The two players who were not part of that setup [Rahul-DRAVID & PRAVEEN-Kumar] were the only ones to turn up well prepared. If these overpaid, underperforming, pampered cricketers had DESIRE [as they call FIRE in the BELLY] they would have prepared better by skipping IPL. As Steven James [former Glamorgan opener said] Gautam-GAMBHIR's & SEHWAG's failure was a cricketing equivalent of JUSTICE SYSTEM for being seduced by the IPL money and not recuperating from injuries in time for this series. As they say "You REAP what you SOW".

Posted by Rahulbose on (August 24, 2011, 2:47 GMT)

Eng great or Ind wretched? Ans: Both. Well maybe India were not wretched, more like unfit, old, and unprepared. Depending on who you are talking about.

Posted by BillyCC on (August 23, 2011, 23:42 GMT)

@YorkshirePudding, I understand your point, and perhaps the hallmark of this potential great English side will be that every one of their batsmen fulfils their role in the side (hence my point about the terrific balance in the English lineup at the moment). However, they still need the "Great" or "Greats" to stand up. The potential is all there in front of them. Trott is the most likely but it's early days for him. KP had his chance to be the great, and now that he seems to have sorted his head out, maybe he could be the one. Bell has completely turned his career around from being overrated to underrated which is amazing in itself. And Cook is still so young. So yeah, all the hallmarks of a great batting side.

Posted by mohsin9975 on (August 23, 2011, 22:42 GMT)

@friendly fire Do u really think bcci gives the players a choice to choose betwn ipl nd nation nd the onus nd blame rests on the players? Wake up mate. Bcci owns the ipl nd wudnt want it to b a failure by the absence of top players. Players r forced to play the ipl by bcci as the franchise nd broadcasters want to recover their exhorbitant money which bcci has charged them. So the conflict of interest is within the bcci not the players. Blame bcci who love the line-players can rest whenever they want during india series bt schedules will remain the same. Boycott clt20 nd ipl5. Only then will bcci come to its senses

Posted by   on (August 23, 2011, 22:40 GMT)

@jonesy2 - the Aus teams of 2005 & 2009 lost the Ashes, those teams included Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Glichrist and a couple of blokes named McGrath & Warne, they were NOT Easy Beats. England lost the 2007 series for same as reason as India just lost, lousy preparation and too much emphasis on a couple of "star" players - Flintoff & KP. I don't think the current Aussie team is as bad as the Test rankings indicate; remember the drubbing they dished out to the Poms in Perth wasn't on a typical WACA wicket, and they've just won the ODI series in SL. Only old HasBeens and young WannaBees should be allowed to play TwinkyTwinky Cricky.

Posted by brittop on (August 23, 2011, 22:05 GMT)

@serious-am-i: agree teams should have good quality replacements in all departments. However, since very other test side has at least one bowling weak link in it's first XI, I don't think you can criticise England.

Posted by brittop on (August 23, 2011, 21:57 GMT)

@Srinivasan N. Iyer: England did not get thrashed in India last time - they lost 1-0. The game they lost, they declared and set India at target, which the Indians then played excellently to make. What India have just received is a thrashing.

Posted by brittop on (August 23, 2011, 21:48 GMT)

@sahil gupta: what would have happened if Anderson had been injured at the start of the first test would have been that England's batsmen would have matched India's large score (assuming they made one!) and drawn the test. (They may even have won it - remember they bowled Sri Lanka out cheaply at Cardiff to win the test when Anderson was injured). Then they would have brought in a quality replacement and gone on to win the series 3-0. Broad & Swann bowling 50 overs in that innings wouldn't have bothered them as they're so much fitter than the Indian bowlers.

Posted by brittop on (August 23, 2011, 21:40 GMT)

@hurricane08: so England showed no resilience. The exact opposite is true. Even though Sachin & Mishra batted for a long time, they still bowled India out for 283, inducing a collapse after that partnership.

Posted by brittop on (August 23, 2011, 21:37 GMT)

@nampally: so England's attack is average because Mishra & Kumar scored some runs. I'll take an average bowling attack that consistently bowls out the opposition for under 300. Kumar's runs were most slogs that were irrelevant to the result of the game. Mishra did bat well, even if it was on the best batting wicket of the series when the ball wasn't new.

Posted by CandidIndian on (August 23, 2011, 21:07 GMT)

England are in top form and they are a great side,India should have anticipated their form by looking at matches held at recent Ashes series and should have prepared accordingly instead of playing IPL and useless WI tour.First warning for India came in SL when they just managed to save the series at 1-1 against SL which was a disappointing result if you are no 1 team,but instead of taking this as disappointment and failure things were taken lightly and hence India went downhill after that.Same thing happened in SA, when India finished at 1-1.Winning everything at home and just saving the series when you tour may help you to hold on to rankings but that is far from greatness we expect from no 1 side in the world .Since BCCI and Indian team chose not to take measures for improvement,the results in England were quite likely .We should actually thank our old friend England for exposing the wrong system,now BCCI will be forced to change it.

Posted by CandidIndian on (August 23, 2011, 21:06 GMT)

England are in top form and they are a great side,India should have anticipated their form by looking at matches held at recent Ashes series and should have prepared accordingly instead of playing IPL and useless WI tour.First warning for India came in SL when they just managed to save the series at 1-1 against SL which was a disappointing result if you are no 1 team,but instead of taking this as disappointment and failure things were taken lightly and hence India went downhill after that.Same thing happened in SA, when India finished at 1-1.Winning everything at home and just saving the series when you tour may help you to hold on to rankings but that is far from greatness we expect from no 1 side in the world .Since BCCI and Indian team chose not to take measures for improvement,the results in England were quite likely .We should actually thank our old friend England for exposing the wrong system,now BCCI will be forced to change it.

Posted by 5wombats on (August 23, 2011, 19:59 GMT)

@jonesy2; you'd be the perfect comedian. Perhaps this form of therapy would help; Australia were easy to beat in 2005, 2009 and even easier in 2010/11. That's a form of comedy that I can really laugh at. hahahahha!

Posted by Sri_chicago on (August 23, 2011, 17:47 GMT)

Disappointing article, Sambit. I have a feeling you werent in your 'zone' when writing this. Nothing new and lots of things we have heard right through the series. The reference to the Sehwag dismissal does not reflect the utter stupidity of Sehwag in getting out as he did. He was repeatedly stymied by Swann, in the air and off the pitch, before the actual dismissal and had also attempted some wild slogs which hadnt come off. And to top it all he then aimed that loose coverdrive to a flighted ball that was spinning in a mile. The story really is that of a so-called famed and finest and whatever batting line-up (bar Dravid of course) that refused to learn from its mistakes and did not have the heart to stay in and fight. And it's disappointing that Sambit has chosen to be diplomatic rather than candid.

Posted by bismoy on (August 23, 2011, 17:34 GMT)

@TheOnlyEmperor SRT crumbles under pressure and in the 4th innings. It's a shame to watch him play pad first or receive balls on the helmet when he panics.

Which series you are watching??? Its not srt who struggled in 4th innings but dravid who struggle in 4 th innings.please see highlight to understand what really happened.

What the use of dravid 3 century when india lost all 3 test...This proves how selfish dravid played....

Posted by Friendly_Fire on (August 23, 2011, 16:45 GMT)

I believe that neither is entirely true; important caveat here is 'At the Moment' as the case remains unproven until England have shown what they can do against India in India.

What is true though, is that India's preparation was utterly wretched and the BCCI's management of Test cricket pathetic. To have one of the finest opening batsmen in the world delaying an operation in order to play for his country in the ODI World Cup is understandable but to defer it further in order to play in the IPL is not. Sehwag should have been given a straight choice by the BCCI; play for your country OR play IPL and if you choose the latter then goodbye glorious Test career! The BCCI lacked the courage to do this but also faced the sad fact that they have done nothing to nurture the next generation of Indian talent. The wailing about injuries only attempts to hide the fact that there is no depth whilst England can slot in man for man replacements when we are faced with the same problems.

Posted by jonesy2 on (August 23, 2011, 16:09 GMT)

also, they caught australia and india at times where each team were for various reasons easy to beat.

Posted by serious-am-i on (August 23, 2011, 15:38 GMT)

England are not a number 1 until they beat Sri Lanka in their den and India in their den. We have seen it in the past, England are Lions at Home and mice at sub-continent conditions. They do good on seaming wckets and on flat or spinning tracks they struggle. Just take out Swann and england don't have another quality spinner in the reserve. They have backup pacemen to be replaced but no spinner. A team which has reserves in all departments should be the no.1, I don't see England doing that. I am having my fingers crossed on South Africa though.

Posted by mohsin9975 on (August 23, 2011, 14:57 GMT)

cricinfo please publish my post. its imp for crickets future. i call for boycott of clt20 nd ipl 5. the wc champs didn't deserve a 0-4 drubbing, even though england played excelnt cricket. show some fan power guys . we can kill the demon

Posted by 5wombats on (August 23, 2011, 14:32 GMT)

@bhaloniaz; "Zaheer is probably better than any Englishman" Rubbish. "Indian batsmen are good" - no, they aren't. " England is number 1 team. I would argue not by far. SA is very close" Really? SA couldn't beat you own their own pitches and England thrashed India on English pitches. Meanwhile SA could not beat England on their own pitches either. How good does that make England? "AUS will come back strong". Do you really think so? England reduced Australia to pulp 6 months ago - a defeat that they don't really know how to handle. Now England have reduced India to pulp and it looks as if your way of handling it is "South Africa will beat you soon and so will Australia". Can't you do any better than that? How ungracious..

Posted by 5wombats on (August 23, 2011, 14:19 GMT)

@jonsey2 - after what you've just said, you better pray that India don't beat you in the forthcoming series. How is life for you back down the rankings? 100 is it? Now, back to the hospital with you - mustn't miss your medication!

Posted by ggsg on (August 23, 2011, 14:12 GMT)

It was collective team failure. wondering why people are only bad mouthing seniors

Posted by CollisKing on (August 23, 2011, 13:58 GMT)

India were clearly not up to strong opposition in the longer format of the game, in conditions that sort out the men from the boys in both batting line-ups. All very well scoring stacks of runs on hopeless flat tracks at home - the slip cordon disappears after the first hour, no close catchers to take advantage of these loose strokes. Or for that matter other formats of the game where bowlers (to aid the "entertainment) are simply "canon fodder". To thrive in the highest format of the game I suggest India encourage more seam-friendly pitches into their domestic cricket.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2011, 13:22 GMT)

England won the series because they performed as an excellent team, India lost because they performed as a diabolical team. It puzzles me how India ever became the #1 Test team and Australia ended up down at #5, it can only be due to the vagaries of the Test playing schedule.

Dhoni should not be India's captain, it's unfair on the guy. A keeper will rarely, if ever, make a good on field captain. The keeper is the ONLY person on the field who has to give his complete attention to every ball that's bowled. He just doesn't have time to do the strategic thinking required of the captain - weighing up fielding options, thinking about which bowlers can work together to achieve a breakthrough etc.

To those who maintain that England can't claim to be #1 until they win a series in India, Australia didn't win a series in India when it was #1, perhaps until India wins a series in Australia then it can't be regarded as #1.

Posted by thirdmanboundary on (August 23, 2011, 13:00 GMT)

England are currently the best team in the world. They haven't been at the top long enough yet to qualify as a great team, but they are a beautifully balanced unit. As a South African, I would say they have the edge over SA at the moment, particularly in one regard: they have a fantastic tail, whereas SA's lower order is very frail. This is ironic. Historically, SA used to have an excellent tail (e.g. Pollock and Boje at 9 and 10 at one point). England's batting bowlers are the envy of every side and make them very hard to get out twice.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (August 23, 2011, 12:39 GMT)

@BillyCC, hmm, I see what you are saying and the next 18 months will either cement england at the top or see them depart to mid table. I disagree with your remarks about batting, we have two players capable of playing anchor/accumulator roles (Cook and Trott), With Bell and KP in the middle order who play with different styles, one smooth and silky, the other brash and harsh. we are missing a Number 6, Morgan isnt quite cut out for test cricket. Prior is an excellent accelrator, Bresnan and Broad are getting a reputaion as class Bowling all rounders who are capable of chipping 30-40+ runs each.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2011, 12:34 GMT)

England were good in their own conditions. We were hamstrung with injuries and limited bowling options. Our batting collapsed for reasons not explainable. Plus we had the rub of the green with some very doubtful decisions. Rahul Dravid who was the only batsman in form was very unlucky to be given twice wrongly. With some good decisions on selection and new players to be blooded we should be back as awol knit team. We need Test match players and not ODI heroes. England will not be in their new perch too long - give and take a few seasons only - certainly not 5 years as Botham predicts. Boycott should also remember how England got thrashed by India when they came to India the last time- worse than bangladesh!!

Posted by   on (August 23, 2011, 11:51 GMT)

I guess Duncan Fletcher has the Indian side on the same diet as himself. They all started gaining weight.

Posted by rajattiwaari on (August 23, 2011, 11:28 GMT)

All hail champions ENGLAND!!Being a passionate indian supporter it was tough to swallow the pounding indian team have taken in this series.but i was mesmerised by the quality of cricket played by the english,not only in this series but in ashes as well.I completely agree that pak,sl n bangladesh played better against eng. ENGLAND undoubtedly,are currently the best team in world .but they need to prove themselves in subcontinent.last time they were thrashed 5-0 in odi's n 1-0 in test matches.so they need to coorect that record.ENGLAND took a step a step towards greatness in australia, now they need to complete this journey by proving themselves in subcontinent.which should not b too difficult for dem.

Posted by douglondon on (August 23, 2011, 11:11 GMT)

I think the truth of it lies somewhere between the two extremes. England are a very good team, with many players playing to the top of their ability. India are a good team, but one far too reliant on their normally superb batting and a single, fragile, great bowler. India's problem is not so much the present as the future. One (very) bad series doesn't make them a terrible side. However, the imminent loss of their standout bowler, and a number of great batsmen may well make them a bad team.

I would disagree with those posters suggesting England need to beat South Africa and win in India to be considered the best team. England have already drawn a series in SA. If England only secure a draw at home it would suggest that, head-to-head, they are at least as strong as SA. As for winning in India, I would argue that a draw, or a narrow loss, would mean England are the stronger team, given the manner of this series victory.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2011, 11:02 GMT)

I wonder what would have happened if Anderson got injured on the 1st day of 1st test and Broad would have bowled 50 overs in 1st inngs like PK Swann would have bowled 50 and hitted for 6 per over like Bhajji when cook would have fielded at silly point for 150 overs like Gautam when KP would have got fever in 1st test and still fielded for 200 overs in the test when trott would have bowled like dhoni for hours when Bell would have fielded and watched bowler smacked for 200 overs

and all these in alien condition to them :) i know the answer and know nobody will agree this is a series of event India have to face becoz of zak injury Mark my words India will bounce back in Aus series after this lesson :)

Posted by aracer on (August 23, 2011, 8:02 GMT)

Question to all those who say England isn't #1 because they've not beaten India in India (etc.) - so who is, and why? How do you suggest changing the ICC ranking system if the table produced by that shows England at the top (by a clear margin) when that's clearly not the case? Or are you just bad losers and talking a load of rubbish? I'm so looking forward to England touring India (when your stars are 18 months older) and proving you so, so wrong.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2011, 7:52 GMT)

It is poor approach of M.S.Dhoni and team management poor selection policy.Why were Munaf Patel, W Saha and Virat Kohli were selected for the series. Why Sehwag was allowed to play in the final test when he is having trouble with shoulder and hearing problem. When Mukund is there why can't they use his services. IS he a tourist in the series. Why Dhoni is giving reasons that injuries to top players is reason for loss. Is he not a top player or Sachin or laxman or Gambhir are not top players. Ok Gambhir is injured in the final test but what is wrong with Dhoni's batting or Suresh Raina batting. If Dhoni thinks that England is great bowling side then how did he expect that with some mediocre fitness of Sehwag will win the match. Mukund should have played the whole series and more time must have given to players like Zaheer, Sehwag,etc to recover from injuries.

Posted by majawaid on (August 23, 2011, 6:28 GMT)

England great! not yet, but surely they are in the process of achieving greatness. they are performing well for nearly 3-4 years and with Australia lost grounds and no other side seems challenging, England has all the chances to become one. India, on the other hand proved to be too weak for England team. they are considered heroes ONLY in their own country but always proved to be zeroes outside. besides,defeating England in England is a tough call for any foreign side and India is no exception. Indian board is perhaps ruining its cricketers for money ..rather more money and Indian media is ever ready to buy glory for their players, actors, artists. Recent world cup 'victory' is a case in point. what to talk of ordinary souls ( later actresses) becoming Miss this and Miss that!?

Posted by chandu135 on (August 23, 2011, 6:08 GMT)

to be in top, england needs to beat RSA in the same manner..even zimbabwe can beat current indian test team

Posted by Thomas_George on (August 23, 2011, 5:23 GMT)

England played like a great team. They got back in the game after being down and out in the second test. They persisted with attack during the brief periods of Indian domination. India, on the other hand, squandered their chances. They looked mediocre -- hoping that injured old hands would get them over the line with their past glory.

Posted by bhaloniaz on (August 23, 2011, 4:42 GMT)

Neither is true. English bowlers are better than Indians, specially because of the depth. Zaheer is probably better than any Englishman. Tremlett\Bresnan has better average than Anderson. Indian batsmen are good, an indian batsman with 55 average is probably as good as the englishmen with 45 average (just because wickets are different). Similar things can be argued by indian bowlers bt no one other than Zaheer is as good as English bowlers. England is number 1 team. I would argue not by far. SA is very close. AUS will come back strong. I donot believe IPL is the reason. If anything Mukund, Kohli and Raina had opportunities to play best bowlers in the world.

Posted by mohsin9975 on (August 23, 2011, 4:22 GMT)

Oh just missed the inside edge. So dearly wanted sachin to b given out lbw in the 90s with an inside edge. Sorry for being sadistic nd harsh.I m no sachin basher. Bt thats the only way the richest board understands the adv of using hotspot in reviewing lbw decisions. They announce to use same useless drs in the next few series

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (August 23, 2011, 4:03 GMT)

I really wonder what the Indian coach and the seniors were doing.The English played the first session of every day gingerly before breaking free. The Indians didn't. The Indian openers flopped as did the middle. Laxman, SRT and Raina decided to go into a hole and forgot how to take singles. They think that's how Dravid survives and sought to emulate him perhaps. The Indian bowlers have always been India's weak link. Nobody can muster up pace, accuracy, line or length to threaten any decent batsman. Bhajji is a washout. But for 2 innings where Dhoni threw the bat, it's clear he doesn't know how to bat in Test cricket. When it comes to the Indian bowlers they must rank as the worst batsman. They simply don't have match temperament or even situational awareness to bat as necessary. SRT crumbles under pressure and in the 4th innings. It's a shame to watch him play pad first or receive balls on the helmet when he panics. Bad Indian play made England look good. Period.

Posted by mohsin9975 on (August 23, 2011, 3:58 GMT)

@soumik nd @haksi lol. Bt very true

Posted by jonesy2 on (August 23, 2011, 3:51 GMT)

no, india have just been unbelievably horrendous. england are ok but they will be back down the rankings soon they dont have any depth the speak of and too many of their players are on a un-sustainable wave of form. plus anyone could have scored truck loads of runs against that indian bowling "attack" also their bowlers were made to look by india's sorry batting.

Posted by cricconnossieur on (August 23, 2011, 2:42 GMT)

I have been watching cricket since 1983 and never ever did I see an Indian team disappoint the fans so hugely, esp in test matches. It was so depressing that it almost hurt. Javed Miandad's Six of the last ball at Sharjah , India's loss in WC2003 comes close but it was all in the ODI format. The 5-0 loss to WI after the WC 83 and the 3-0 loss to Australia in 92 are the closest such defeats in a Test series. But then those series were lost to near invincible teams. 92 had some bright spots with the arrival of Tendulkar with two splendid hundreds. What hurt most was to see greats like Tendulkar and laxman struggling to time the ball and being beaten umpteen times. We are so unused to this that the feeling of disbelief slowly turned into hurt. They have surely played better bowlers in their times. What must have made the difference is a combination of factors--Good accurate fast bowling, hostile batting conditions,our own bowlers unable to use the same conditions adding on the pressure.

Posted by BillyCC on (August 23, 2011, 2:36 GMT)

England can't hold claim to being the number one side at the moment as they are yet to conquer South Africa and India in India. So how can they even be called great? They do have the makings of a great side due to their balance and their pace attack. However, their batting lacks the quality that defines the truly great sides so that area must improve before they will be considered great.

Posted by jr1972 on (August 23, 2011, 2:29 GMT)

England are a good, well balanced side and India a decent side who have had an awful tour. Great is an over used and disrespected word that can be put in the same category as world class and legend. England will have to continue to improve and that includes a series win in India and beating South Africa to become a very good side in many people's estimation.

Posted by Optic on (August 23, 2011, 2:08 GMT)

@CricIndia208 You'll see how rubbish England are at the shorter format when they destroy India in the ODi series, as well as England are the current World Champions in T20, so they put a hurting on you their as well. You do realise the one day series will be played in England, against a lot of the same players, the same players who have just flayed and embarrassed the Indian team, England has a lost only lost one series in England in nearly 3 years, so I wouldn't count any chickens yet.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2011, 2:06 GMT)

India is wretched. England is not that great. In 4 tests, India only got 47 wickets. that is 11.75 wickets/test. They gave away 2809 runs at almost 60 Runs/Wicket. It is unheard of mediocrity in Test Cricket. Even Bangladesh and Pakistan performed better than that last year in England. India should be playing more often outside the sub-continent to build the capacity to handle tough playing conditions. Indian team with current bowling attack could be rated equivalent to Bangladesh.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (August 23, 2011, 2:02 GMT)

Sambhit, I don't understand why none of the writers on cricinfo address this shameless charade, that is bordering on jealousy, against IPL. People are showing a pattern while attacking IPL. They first start off with 'concern' for Indian Test Cricket; in their 'concern', instead of showing sympathy or concern for the Indian Team, they start mocking at it. And we all are grown up enough to understand that wherever there is concern for a thing, there is no scope for mocking and ridicule. Their words are a give away that their 'concern' is not Indian Test Cricket and that their concern is IPL and the target of concern is IPL. Isn't it a fact that IPL has bettered many lives? Isn't it a fact that it is a revenue generating industry, for cheer girls from across the world to the street vendors in India. I would love to see Britishers baying for the blood of an enormous revenue generating business of Britain just because it may be spoiling the purity of something else in their country.

Posted by ns1000 on (August 22, 2011, 23:53 GMT)

No analysis required really. England outplayed India from the first session of of the first Test until the last session of the fourth Test. They deserve what they have achieved. India needs nurturing while England will hunt for more gold. They could be a team to reckon with for a long, long time to come - even with the Aussies and SA in the mix. Congratulations from a very disgruntled Indian follower. You deserve it hands down.

Posted by Chris_P on (August 22, 2011, 23:22 GMT)

Thought provoking headline, Sambit, however I think slightly extreme both directions. To be labelled GREAT, a sustained period of excellence is needed to be termed such ^ by that I mean a number of years of sustained quality cricket. Is this English side very good? Absolutely! They are rightfully the #1 side as they are clearly the best side currently going round. India wretched? This series, they were less than that, but over the years, their batting has shown their class, so perhaps to label them that might be a little over the top. We read about India always bouncing back after the first test (still waiting), we read about Sehwag & Zaheer out (so was Trott & Tremlett), umpires, tosses, this and that. At the end of the day, it was a decisive whitewash with no fight put up. Basically, a cakewalk.

Posted by spintl on (August 22, 2011, 23:20 GMT)

I can't believe that the Quality of Test cricket has so fallen down that the Pommies are #1 in the world!!!!

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 23:00 GMT)

I think the England team is very good at the moment, but its the Indian team that made them look great. I feel the two reasons for the indian failure in this series are: 1. Complacent over the World Cup Victory. No player from world cup squad has done well in this series. The only two players who did well are dravid and praveen. It will take some time for the players to come out of that world cup victory. 2. IPL. If injuries is one excuse, they happened to sehwag, gambhir and zaheer because of the excessive cricket they played in IPL. Apart from the injuries, the players who played in IPL went for slog shots on dead pitches and they could not concentrate much on their technique of batting. Hope BCCI understands that and reduces the length of the IPL2012.

Posted by England_World_Champs on (August 22, 2011, 22:16 GMT)

India were bad but England are without doubt the best team in the World! Great?, not yet, but we have an opportunity to be No1 for sometime. I see a few Indian fans are less than complimentary, Rose tinted glasses i'm afraid, wake up you we're beaten by a far superior team. And as for the excuses about poor umpiring, come on, it's the only way you ever won any series at all up until neutral umpires were introduced and you could not have Indian umpires at home.

Posted by big_al_81 on (August 22, 2011, 21:56 GMT)

Great to see some sensible Indian comments along with the total nonsense. Why did we win? Because we're better in every department. The margin of victory is a pleasant surprise, the fact that India were defeated should surprise no-one. @Gupta exemplifies a strange trend I've noticed among Indian commenters who say 'we did well in SA/Australia etc. What you mean is you won one Test match in each place! India's overseas record against major teams is pitiful. The 1-0 series win against England has been dwelt on far too long (and even that could just as easily have been a drawn series). England are now able to win emphatically at home and overseas (NB 3-1 Ashes victory to back up previous home series wins).

Posted by Noboundary on (August 22, 2011, 21:32 GMT)

If we are honest with ourselves and cast aside other considerations such as past (distant past!) performances and go by current form and merit most of the team members would not find a place in a test 11. I see only the need to retain Mishra, Ishan (he is young and there is still time to cultivate the right skills), Dravid, Gambir, Praveen Kumar .. all the rest should be freed so that they can concentrate on IPL and make some money. Ofcourse there is no place for MSD either as a captain or WK... there are enough talented guys in the country that can do these jobs better.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 21:16 GMT)

@ all Indian fans, winning a single test in perth or durban doesnt matter. U need to win a series.....India never looked like holding the top spot since they never had a gud attack and have never in history collectively performed overseas. I cant express my anguish with indian cricket here. The IPL and other BS (BCCI) have shunted gud cricketing skills required. England may not be the best, but they are a very good TEAM on the right path with good execution while India are a collection of batting stars with no chemistry nd bowlers not capable of taking wkts.....This drubbing shud sting the BCCI and the ECB, CA, CSA shud do something abt the BCCI's muscle in world ckt.....hail the POMS, next 2 summers against SA and Aus shud b a cracker

Posted by NairUSA on (August 22, 2011, 20:33 GMT)

No team could lose like how India has managed to do. What else to expect from a set of players who lack the focus, application and grit? Refresh the team with a healthy dose of new cricketers even if that means that India lose a few more series. As for wretchedness, team India takes the cake.

Posted by Shan156 on (August 22, 2011, 20:26 GMT)

@Nutcutlet, oh yes, I almost forgot, VVS' comment about the English bowling after the first test. That was so unlike the humble VVS we know. In fact, the last few years, there seems to be a change in his behavior. He is usually very cool but lost it when he was batting alongside Pragyan Ojha against Australia which India won thanks to his efforts. He was seen screaming and abusing Ojha. In the heat of the battle, perhaps (VVS was nursing a injury and had hauled India from a position of sure defeat to a miraculous victory alongside the obdurate Ishant Sharma), but so unlike VVS.

I am sure he will understand the quality of the English bowling after he comprehends how he should have played the two Jimmy deliveries which sent his off stump for a ride.

Wonderful player nevertheless. There is no innings in living memory that comes close to his back to the wall, chanceless 281 against an attack boasting McGrath, Warne, Gillespie and Kasprowicz.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 20:19 GMT)

India have been dire, but England have put them to the sword. After the first Test the Indians have hardly been interested, but England have now won 7 of their last 13 Tests by an innings.India's attack was very poor. Kumar bowled his heart out, but he had no support. 'Yeah, but we have lost Zaheer and Harbhajan to injury'. Well players get injured. England lost Tremlett, so we bought in Bresnan. Also, on here Indian supporters have been saying 'Yeah, but we are the World Cup winners', but you couldn't beat us in the group game. Another thing, England are also the T20 World Champions, don't forget, but you've conveniently forgotten that also.

Posted by sports99 on (August 22, 2011, 20:17 GMT)

Well so many for sure on this thread know that INDIA are going to loose number one spot sooner or later. But the really surprise thing that Dhoni's lack of fighting capabilities as leader. Usually no matter how good a player you are sure you look for your leader in tough situations for guidance. Either Dhoni's luck ran out on this series or he is a little bit laid back after IPL and worldcup wins.

Posted by Dale-force_winds_steyn_the_pitch on (August 22, 2011, 20:14 GMT)

@5wombats: that kinda was a long analytical response:P

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 20:05 GMT)

If Mr Dhoni wants only to play for 20-20s he should tell so to BCCI for not selection He is attitude has been very complacent from the begining of the westIndies tour.luckily we won on a weeek team.But this series(England) it was quite obvious from his bodylanguage and the way he told the otherday that it was only a sport.Not to take serious.He could not be serious becasue he is getting easy money through 20-20s.At least BCCI should consider selecting different teams for diff.format .Othewise you keep looking at these jokers thinking that they will play dedicated game.

Posted by 5wombats on (August 22, 2011, 19:39 GMT)

I was thinking of a long analytical response to this. But I can't be bothered. India are not fit to be called a Test team. Only Dravid and Kumar could be bothered all series; shame on the rest of them. And to think I queued up on that Monday for nearly 2 hours to get my precious ticket, and I was really excited when England chipped out a win there. SHAME on India. The way Dhoni got out today exemplified the whole series - a disgusting disgusting swish, he just didn't give a **** about the match position. Dhoni is an utter disgrace as a captain. And by the way, No - I stayed in France, for the first time in 40 years I had a ticket for a test match and didn't go (Sunday). That's how utterly pathetic india have been. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME. India - don't ever come back to England with a "team" like this. SHOCKING. Cricinfo - please publish.

Posted by Commenter123 on (August 22, 2011, 19:34 GMT)

Praveen did well; Ishant did well 2 weeks ago. It's all BS. The team lost, collectively and badly. There was no excuse, just deal with it and build (again)

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (August 22, 2011, 19:33 GMT)

What does it say when Man of the Series and top wicket taker has a better batting average that everyone on the Indian team except Dravid? Telling isn't it?

Posted by swarzi on (August 22, 2011, 19:08 GMT)

Great commentary Sambit. However, I don't think that Dravid's recent drought has been as extended as this article appears to suggest - it is somewhat an exaggeation. Also, if I were the BCCI, only Dravid of the oldsters I would keep to provide guidance in terms of grit, toughness, technique, etc. for the young Indian batsmen. I guess you have noted also that Tendulkar has gone century-less on his last two tours to England in 7 test matches and 14 completed test innings!

Posted by m_ilind on (August 22, 2011, 19:02 GMT)

Both, I say. India were most wretched, 10 on a scale of 1-10 for wretchedness. BCCI should take some serious action to stem the rot caused by the mega rich IPL.

Posted by Hurricane08 on (August 22, 2011, 18:52 GMT)

India's portly coach epitomizes the fitness level of the team as a sharp contrast to the super fit Andy Flower. England played well, no doubt, but the #1 spot was handed to them on a platter. England has aways to go before they can reach the level of Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting's Australia. What's missing from the English team is resilience and that was evident at the frustration that started creeping in once Sachin and Amit Mishra offered some resistence. South Africa under Gary Kirsten may be a potent threat to England.

Posted by hhillbumper on (August 22, 2011, 18:51 GMT)

India are world cup champions.So if we beat you in that format as well what excuse will you have left.Face it you were crushed by a proper team who can keep going for years.The secret is that England are a team and not a collection of walking adverts.Don't worry the IPL will be back next year and your players can learn how to bat on flat pitches once more.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 18:40 GMT)

It's far too early to say if England is a great team, they've certainly put in some great performances in the past 12 months, and are certainly worthy of their current status. India have been very poor for all but a few sessions in this series, their batsmen, Dravid apart didn't seem willing to fight for their wickets. Their bowlers have shown more fight, but have been incapable of providing sustained periods of hostile bowling. Personally I'm going to enjoy our current top ranking, knowing that eventually it will end, and the next 12 months will give us an idea of how long it will be until that point.

Posted by da_man_ on (August 22, 2011, 18:32 GMT)

@ CricIndia208: That's it, great attitude. If India lose, it doesn't count right? Suddenly, ODI cricket is the pinnacle of the game?! If the Indian cricketers have feelings remotely similar to you, they'll soon be mixing it with Bang and Zim in Test cricket, and soon all forms of the game.

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (August 22, 2011, 18:11 GMT)

We have been wretched.........as simple as that!!! We did so well in SA 9 months ago......winning in Durban is super difficult and we also won in Perth in 2007....

Really don't know what has happened....

Posted by professor_zero on (August 22, 2011, 17:42 GMT)

@Rahul Vatsgotra: Do you mean flat pitches like the Oval, where India were just spanked by an innings? @Dr.Vindaloo: Agreed about Zaheer Kahn. But Harbajhan was hardly missed. Remember, he played two matches that India lost badly, taking only 2 wickets at an average of 143.50. Even worse, he offered no control, going for over 4 an over.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 17:38 GMT)

well the indians such as praveen kumar and ishant sharma did pretty well a few weeks b4 this series backa yard in the west indies my land. but in england where obviiusly it swings even more they were impotent against the superiorenglish batsmen. also the indian batsmen apart from dravid didnt do much in the west indies i dont think they scored more than 300 in an innings and 1-0 was flattering to them. I think england really are that much better.....they will prove it in india i beleive....obviously the aussies are in a transitional mode....the pakistanis in chaos as usual and they dont have the batsmen anymore and have lost amir and asif and akhtar so will take years to recover.....i think the next 2-3 years test cricket will belong to england and south africa second place.

Posted by Pritt32 on (August 22, 2011, 17:38 GMT)

England team deserve their success for the hard-work and dedication to reach no 1 test ranking by beating big teams. To be honest 4-0 is a fair and honest reflection in the series, as they completely outplayed India. The Indian team have a lot of work to do. Injuries damaged the morale and confident of the team, but they do need to realise that relying on key players will contribute to their downfall, as they will not be there forever. Many players simply did not fire, as their batting reached 300 runs in only one innings and struggled against swing bowling. Bowling was very poor as they conceded big totals. I wish them good luck in the ODI, but their confidence will be very low. England still needs to prove them by winning in the sub-continent, as their record is abysmal and then you can say they are a great team. India needs to focus on new talent as it is a disjointed team, otherwise they will continue to struggle in test arena. They need to raise their game a lot.

Posted by buntyj on (August 22, 2011, 17:37 GMT)

broad is developing into a better bowler n better bat than flintoff; it would be interesting to compare eng players stats b4 n after 2009, big difference; this shows players can improve with effort; dravid is the best example in indian team, maybe zak n gambhir too

Posted by buntyj on (August 22, 2011, 17:32 GMT)

and to put things in perspective india's (non) performance in eng 2011 while humiliating is not worse than the defeat of a strong aus team (but without a genuine pacer) by rsa 4-0 in 69-70 and in some ways less pathetic than a truly strong (stronger than now including in terms of bench strength) eng's 4-0 (in 5 tests) defeat (complacency, transitions, under preparation) in australia by a good (harvey, o'neill, davidson, benaud) but not one of the top aussie sides; it's, however, poor consolation that this may not have been the most humiliating capitulation of all time and should be a wake up call; but alas, i dont expect it to really deliver the needed changes.

Posted by HumungousFungus on (August 22, 2011, 17:31 GMT)

Zaheer is not fit enough to play four Tests in five weeks, and would have broken down at some point. It is unfortunate that it was the first day in perfect bowling conditions. Had England bowled first in the first two Test matches in those conditions, India would not have scored more than 150 in either first innings, and neither Test would have been as close. India lost Zaheer? England lost Tremlett. India's bowling reserves? Sreesanth, RP Singh, Munaf. England's? Bresnan, Onions, Finn. Who would you rather face? India lost Sehwag? England lost Trott. Etc etc. Excuses excuses. You can only play who is in front of you. Had Zaheer and Sehwag played the whole series, and been fit, it might not have been 4-0, but be in no doubt that England would still have won the series. On another note, all of those saying England need to win in India to be number 1: Would you mind explaining to me how India are going to bowl England out twice in the Sub Continent on those famously flat pitches?

Posted by ggsg on (August 22, 2011, 17:27 GMT)

How come we cannot produce Quality seam fast bowlers (barring few likes of kapil dev, srinath, zaheer) but pakistan does? I keep asking this climatic condition are same. But now we are not producing world classquality spinners like we use to have in bedi, chandershekar, prssanna, venkat .more recently Kumble and Harbhajjan. Only if we knew the answer. Our batting has been total failure.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (August 22, 2011, 17:24 GMT)

It staggers me that a country of 1.2 billion people who would generally agree that cricket is their national sport is incapable of putting a test side into the field that cannot come anywhere near beating a country with a population of 60 million who would say that football is the national game. Any answers, chaps?

Posted by niraj13 on (August 22, 2011, 17:24 GMT)

First of all, it is very disappointing for Indian fans to lose in such a manner to the England team. It is a combination of multiple things. The bottom line is India never settled down as a team. The only time England had to sweat was in the last 2 days of the last match, but ultimately they were winners. There are several reasons like poor planning by the board, excessive cricket, lack of young talent, out of form players, weak bowling attack, injuries and top of that, some bad luck. We also must not forget that they were up against a very strong and determined England team. This was too much to handle for a common Indian fan who is used to seeing successful compaigns in recent years. But now, instead of conducting a deep analysis, it is time to plan for the future. In near term, India should win the ODI series and the T20 so that they can at least salvage some pride before going back home. For the longer term, BCCI should focus on nurtuting quality players especially goos seamers.

Posted by lucasharrison on (August 22, 2011, 17:16 GMT)

The good thing about being an England fan is that we are graceful in defeat, and will happily (sometimes too happily) admit when we've been outplayed, unlike the majority of Indian fans. We've just beaten you 4-0 in the highest form of the game. You can;'t use the injury of Zaheer and Harbhajan (who was awful in the first two tests anyway). If we lost any of our bowlers to injury, as we did with Tremlett we'd still have won the series - that's the difference. This England side is very good, not quite great - I think Strauss conservative captaincy is the reason for that.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (August 22, 2011, 17:11 GMT)

The series is done and as the dust settles, a clear picture emerges: India were awful and cruelly exposed in several respects. With Zaheer Khan's breakdown, their attack lacked a leader, but before too many Indian supporters shout, 'Yes! Yes! That's why we were so poor!' remember ZK's lack of fitness was predictable. He looked out of shape. So where was the back up? The cavalry never arrived because it never existed! Same is true for H Singh! Then there was the arrogance of the batsmen, the great Dravid aside. Do I remember VVS saying that England's bowling attack was nothing exceptional? Well, perhaps he undertands hubris by now! The fielding was never better than county average and frequently plain embarrassing. Was there a plan, a focus? I never saw evidence of one, hard though I looked. India needs to decide if it wants to compete at the top level, or play endless IPL in their backyards. England is more mature in outlook and knows that test cricket matters. India D+ England A!

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (August 22, 2011, 17:10 GMT)

Congratulations to England! A splendid performance as a long time England Cricket supporter. These are nice days indeed if you are involved in anyway with cricket in England and the England Cricket team home and away. Well played! Although it would be nice if opposition fans especially many Indian cricket supporters would acknowledge this Cricket teams success, instead of being vitriolic about it. As one England supporter said on these boards." Cricinfo is a website that shows cricket from an Indian perspective." Cricinfo back in the early 1990s started out as a British Cricket website, however for the last 6 years I noticed it being very India centric, obviously it now a Indian cricket website not a British one anymore and the bias in the website is evident from fans, and being flooded by fans mostly with nothing good to say about England cricket, its ok once or twice but it gets really tiresom after a while. English cricket fans r stay away from Cricinfo. I doubt will publish it.

Posted by buntyj on (August 22, 2011, 17:02 GMT)

despite the limitations described india arent wretched, they did well to leverage the stats systm to squat at no1 without a quality bowling attack; and the top 5 while aging in decline or injured are very good; the indian seamers zak, ishant, pk when all fit will still bowl out most teams on a greentop whether away or home so we can win on greentops vs most (batsmen maynt like it n their averages may be be less inflated more realistic but a match fit top 5 will still outscore many teams on a greentop); the problem is the generation starting with msd who apparently believe that scoring on flat pitches with big hits is best and playing seam, swing, bounce (and even spin) outdated dying legacy; this attitude is why indias bench strength is poor even for batsmen; pujara n rahane may develop but it will be years before we have truly great batsmen again, if ever. i wouldve preferred to see rahane n aaron groomed for tests only, n rohit, raina, kohli et al given a chance in f50.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 16:52 GMT)

england were good in this series and india made them look even better by turning in a soulless performance......

congratulations to them on getting to the top of the rankings table... they deserve it just as much as india did when they got there about 2 years back....

now i guess english fans should hope they can be as good as india to hold on to that ranking....

Posted by PPD123 on (August 22, 2011, 16:40 GMT)

Good article Sambit. Like you said, the numbers speak for themselves. Eng have scored more runs and taken more wkts, kept the game simple & won the series. I guess most of the Ind supporters are realistic not to expect Ind win every match, but I guess what hurts more is the lack of intent and passion. Mind you the players may never accept this, but from the outside, it just didnt look like Ind wanted to be out there in the park and compete. AND THAT HURTS.By the 3rd test, Ind just did not look like taking 20 wkts & at the Oval the bowling was in tatters. We picked RPsingh & he was jogging in to bowl. Even Ravi bopara was bowling quicker than him in the couple of overs that he sent down.losses do happen. If the board is honest in its introspection, then we should find ways for the future. As a start we need to identify a list of 10-15 bowlers from the under 15& 18, & help them fine tune their skill for the next decade. Invest in the youngsters as the big 3 wont be there for ever.

Posted by euphony69 on (August 22, 2011, 16:37 GMT)

Congratulations England for becoming number 1 !!!!!! Though England won the series with massive margins , it is too soon tell if they are really a number one. Not too long ago they sucked in world cup and lost to Ireland. Also England have home court advantage. Every country pretty much makes the pitches favorable to their own teams but it is still not an excuse for number one team for poor performance

India was awful in every department. Bad fielding , bad bowling , bat batting. They never showed interest in playing. BCCI is filled with incompetent jokers. They are not able to extract talent from 1.2 billion people.Hopefully this series is a slap on BCCI face

I really wish England kick India's butt in one days too. India should be dethroned in all the departments so that they will raise from the failure

Posted by saadhassan01 on (August 22, 2011, 16:32 GMT)

India with their average batting and below average bowling have been the worst team in the series. This poor performance might be a blessing in disguise for them to get rid off their aging batting line who are a negative influence on the overall fielding of team as well. Further, quality pace bowling is essentially required for them to be a global # 1 team rather than domestic # 1 team !

Posted by Tlotoxl on (August 22, 2011, 16:25 GMT)

@Dr Vindaloo: yes India lost Zaheer Khan but England lost Tremlet, Harbajahn looked absolutly hopeless in the games he did play. Don't forget England also lost Trott, the guy who in the last year scored 184 against Pakistan, 135no & 168 no in Australia and 203 against Sri Lanka, averages 57 and made a fluent 70 in T1I1 - That is like India losing Dravid. Also India won the toss in the first 2 matches and had massivly more helpful bowling conditions and they batted first at Edgebaston.

Posted by NikNakNo1 on (August 22, 2011, 16:19 GMT)

Reading some of the Indian fans comments its pretty clear they dont understand much about Cricket. Yes being 50 over world champions is a good achievement but Test cricket is the pinnacle of all cricket so to belittle England for humiliating India in such an admirable fashion is just sour grapes. The excuses of not having Zaheer or Harbajhan is just no excuse at all. Zaheer would have made a slight difference, maybe the margins of victory wouldve been smaller but it still wouldve been 4-0. Harbhajan on the other hand is hugely overrated and doesnt contribute anything when conditions dont suit. The fact is India are overrated and have been for ages. The world cup win papers over the cracks in the longer format of the game. When the big 3 retire they have noone of the same calibre to step in either. The fact is that India getting absolutely walloped is good for cricket and it will hopefully shut the Indian fans up or even make them learn some humility - unfortunately I doubt it.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 16:15 GMT)

Its been a mix of both England being great and India being wretched. If India had played up to its potential, the scoreline may still have read 3-1 or 2-1 (in England's favour) at best, but right now, England probably won't be as proud to gain the number 1 ranking from the team that played like classless minnows.

Posted by justprashanth on (August 22, 2011, 16:14 GMT)

Are England great or India wretched? by asking this question, after this series, you are insulting test cricket, belittling the england team and the worse, making an excuse for the Indian team. When the so so called senior players chose IPL over playing for the country, the team does not even deserve to be 3rd in the ranking. People like Sachin, Shewag, Gambhir, Zaheer, Harbhajan and whoever else chose to slug it out for the IPL and take a nap for a Test series in the West Indies. Its probably not the team that has to be changed but i guess the autocratic BCCI has to be controlled.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 16:12 GMT)

It was a brilliant performance by England. Hands down. They have really got into a knack of winning not only every series, or even every match, but also every session. They really look like world beaters, on the march to become the great team of today. They are that good. Having said that, I think, barring the little bits here and there, England's domination in the present series was rendered a bit tasteless by how appallingly India played. I don't mean to demean England's performance, but rather complain about the sheer ignominy with which India played, which disrespected the hard effort England put in to win their matches. I mean, if I were an English team supporter, I would have rather wanted my team to win with the opposition going down fighting than it surrendering like lambs to the slaughter. contd.

Posted by MENDIS_Forever on (August 22, 2011, 16:05 GMT)

@CricIndia208 : yes..u can sleep with ur ODI worldcup.Other teams will defeat u at the test level.

Posted by zaragon on (August 22, 2011, 16:05 GMT)

England are not yet a great team - but the fact is that the side contains a lot of players who are massively improved and can play for many more years. In particular, Cook, Bell, Prior, Broad, Anderson, Swann and Bresnan have all made dramatic progress in the last two years. This team has the potential to keep on getting better over the next two years. In contrast India look like they are going in the other direction. Even great players come to an end at some point. Dravid has played brilliantly in this series but he's hardly the future of the team. Tendulkar and VVS are also close to retirement. Even Zaheer is 33 and that is getting on for a fast bowler. McGrath was an exception in that regard. But even he went eventually, along with Warne, Lee, Hayden, Langer, Gilchrist etc and look what happened. Australia stuck too long with an ageing team. The same will happen to India unless they move on. This was the warning bell!

Posted by Nampally on (August 22, 2011, 16:05 GMT)

Neither England is great Nor India wretched.I blame India for their poor work ethics and total lack of intensity.Dhoni's lack of leadership to inspire was exposed badly. This has been exascerbated by putting the county matches after the tests instead of before - similar to cart before the horse anology. Injuries played further role. Lack of warm up games before the tests affected batting greatly. No wonder an average England bowler looked great. Lower order batsmen like Kumar & Mishra exposed that England bowling is pretty average by applying themselves to the task. This send a strong signal to the top order batsmen.Only Dravid played like a great batsman that he is. Gambhir, Sehwag, Raina were poor while Tendulkar & Laxman were just a shadow of Dravid. This series would have risen to the media hype if at least India had Zaheer & Yuvraj in the side rather than injured.Why was injured Harbhajan not replaced with Ashwin for 3rd & 4th Tests? Many dubious decisons remain unanswered.

Posted by ggsg on (August 22, 2011, 16:03 GMT)

Well the series is over 4-0. Indain cricket team now ranked at no 3. I would not be suprised if they fall to 5, 6, 7 ranked team. Consistently world best batting line up failed thru out the series failed to bat more than 4 session. Our bowlers erratic keeping indian team in game first two test in couple of seession but then they were wayward and next 2 test they bowled with heart bbut wayward. Calling RP singh in place of injured zaheer. Would have been better if aaron would have been picked.

Posted by WTEH on (August 22, 2011, 15:56 GMT)

It is not the greatness of England, India has shown the worst performance ever by a test playing nation. They should have played with Zim or Ireland to decide the test status. When Kirstan was coaching he has given clear instructions to every scenario so the batsmen did play well. Guess the new coach only used to teach batsmen with heads, have no clue what to say. Batsmen who cannot think, bowlers who cannot ball straight India truly deserves the bottom of the table. It is funny they still ranked at 3. Have to play few more games to continue the road to downhill. Unless ICC comes up with a new ranking system to get India on top again.

Posted by shrastogi on (August 22, 2011, 15:43 GMT)

Adding to my previous comment- For India why its necessary to plan. IPL is the reason. Its very important that players get proper rest after IPL. Indians are not natural athletes. If your bowlers have to play 7 tests over 2 months after IPL and are tested they are likely to break down as happened in England. A bowler like Ishant would have taken many more wickets if the attack werent crippled by injuries in the first two tests and veen later. The same problem would come over in the winters. There is no need to play your best fast bowlers against WI. So that they are fresh for crucial tour of australia. And for heavens sake injured players shouldnt play in IPL. Generally for Indian players days of arrogance are over. If they dont give respect they would fall flat as happened in England - Duncan Fletcher please take control. As an Indian it feels bad but Indians learn things the hard way.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 15:43 GMT)

The rut started in the West Indies, when Dhoni refused to chase down the needed runs. Took the easy way out. They claim to lack preparation, so why did they not prepare for an England that was eager and engaged. They were out-hussled, out-played and out-captained. Dravid was all class. He overcame, finally the shadow of TendulKar. lAXMAN COULD NOT SAVE THEM THIS TIME BECAUSE HE COULD NOT ADJUST TO 3. Sachin was not comfortable, Sehwag showed again that he is not a team player. Gambir isa fighter and so is Mishra and Ishant, but Dhoni and Raina were awful. Dhoni is not a good keeper and if he was hurt, he should step aside. Raina has been spolied by limited overs and cannot adjust. The lacked cohesion and grit.and they were humiliated by an England squad that was determined and prepared. YOU CANNOT LEAD WITH YOUR TAIL BETWEEN YOUR LEGS, NOR CAN YOU BE NUMBER 1.

Posted by buntyj on (August 22, 2011, 15:43 GMT)

india by contrast looked squatters at test no1 (unlike world cup) through statistical oddity (without winning series in rsa or sl or oz) despite a quality but aging top 5 in batting line up, including 1 of all time top 10 (but no bradman), no all rounder, no genuine pacer, 1 quality seamer (zak), 1 workman swing bowler (pk), 1 (ishant) who can exploit juice or uneven bounce, no quality spinner (both bhajji- a quality spinner till 2005- and mishra are better bats than bowlers), and almost no1 in the cupboard (maybe pujara n rahane i cant see the others succeeding in tests) and no quality spinner in sight; there are a couple of raw 140kph+ pacers (aaron, yadav) but not likely to be nurtured into quality; but still r best. mindset betrayed by dhoni n critics- playing away is just to enjoy , dont worry about technique we play home 70% of the time is completely unsuited to test cricket where pride in being tested n performing in diverse conditions, honing technique n skills is it

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 15:40 GMT)

india played with ten players virtually the whole series.. so please refrain from making derogatory comments..

Posted by ian_ghose on (August 22, 2011, 15:39 GMT)

@RahulVatsgotra....i hope you watched this Oval Test match. If you did you would have seen how exactly England play on a flat dead track. A flat track with no particular help for a seamers and slight turn for the spinners. And what did they do? They scored 590 and plenty (declared) and bowled India out twice for not more than 300 in either innings. I'm sorry if you can't see it clearly, England beat India in less than 4 days (1 full day lost to rain) in very India-like conditions. If I were you, I'd try not to be so one-eyed, and realize that this England team is indeed very special.

Posted by Haksi on (August 22, 2011, 15:34 GMT)

A large share of blame for this last defeat has to lie with Dhoni,s strange call up of R P Singh as a replacement bowler. Not only was he far below average, his footmarks helped Swann take six wickets using the rough.

Posted by landl47 on (August 22, 2011, 15:32 GMT)

What today demonstrated is that England are a complete team. When conditions favored swing and seam, England did well because England has great seam bowlers. When conditions favored spin as on this wicket, Swann gets 9-208 in the match. Mishra, the lead spinner for India, gets 0-170. The Indian fans talking about how England will do in India, take note. I don't think this England team can yet be compared to the great Australian and Windies teams, but they have started making a compelling case for being mentioned in the same breath. In their last 3 series, against the #1, #4 and #5 sides in the world, their record is won 8, lost 1, drawn 3, and 6 of the 8 wins have been by an innings. Those are numbers to compare with any of the great teams of the past. England were without two of their top players, Trott and Tremlett, for the last two games and won them both by an innings. England's depth is in stark contrast to India's, who couldn't cover the loss of a couple of their top players.

Posted by batnpad on (August 22, 2011, 15:31 GMT)

@ Dr.Vindaloo: I accept Zaheer might have been effective, but he let the Indian fans and his teammates down by showing up unfit. But Bhajji, seriously. I would say he got lucky that he could convince the management of leaving England citing medical reasons. He had no business to have been playing this series at the first place. @ CricIndia208 : I take your comments as an sarcastic attempt on the event of this monumental defeat. Hope we have learnt a big lesson.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 15:29 GMT)

Guys - this coming from an Indian fan - Mr.Vindaloo-impressive statistics of 700+ wickests etc, what abt 45K+ runs between batsmen. Ordinary bowling is another thing - but is it the same Ishanth that bowled in the Aussie pitches, or the same Sreeshanth in SA? They bowled ok in patches - maybe a spell or two, but the difference is 'consistency'-like how Anderson produced a peach to remove Laxman, at the fag end of the day. Sachin-carried us around for 15+ yrs etc, but he probably already looks up to Dravid now. And Sehwag-is a delight to watch anyday, but the commentary from Shastri and Sunny sounds so ridiculous when we see what results are. And there is always the cry about 'unsportive' cricket from the media everytime we lose-Im sure thats not happening this time, for lets accept that we were beaten, and trampled fair and square. Lets accept that reality, and move on - give a thought about the nextgen, and think about what happens if someone wasnt there to face 965 balls this series!

Posted by IanMac on (August 22, 2011, 15:29 GMT)

Yes, Zaheer and Harbhajan would have made a difference. But being the world's number one doesn't mean that you have the best XI in the world: it means you have the best squad, the best 15 or best 20 players. Take the Aussies from a few years ago. If Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne were unfit, that didn't mean opposition teams suddenly started rolling them over. They just brought in Andy Bichel and Stuart McGill and they skittled you. India just didn't have this depth. Anyway, remember that this was a weakened England side. We lost the world's number five batsman in Trott and our strike bowler in Tremlett. The difference was that England did have reserves who could step up.

Posted by mhb1 on (August 22, 2011, 15:29 GMT)

WOW indians still have to say something :S OK talk to the hand now :P

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 15:29 GMT)

May be they are good we need to see giving chance to youngsters and new upcoming talent is always good..as the seniors are unable to do it for India..As of now Viru,Gauti,Zak,Bhajji,Nehra,Yuvi,Ishant should take more time to recover and should be fit enough to play the important series coming at the end of the year..I think Raina's lackluster performance indicates that he is not at all suitable to play in test matches. India should find a suitable replacement for Raina for the tour down under..India would have chosen Kohli to play in the final test a head of Raina..India should now go for replacements for the people who are in it list of poor performances and also in the injuries list..Like Viru and Gauti should be replaced by the players who are of Viru and Gauti's calibre..

Posted by buntyj on (August 22, 2011, 15:28 GMT)

a bit of both; this is a very strong england team but not as strong as the 50s team that had 2 genuine 90+mph bowlers (trueman n tyson) vs none now over 90+mph, even more quality batsman than now and 4-5 quality spinners (laler, wardle, lock, allan, titmus i recall) around instead of 1 at present; and the 50s eng side isnt mentioned with the 21 and 48 oz or windies 60s, n 75-90, or with the oz side late 90s or rsa late 60s as great sides; however, its undoubtedly by some distance the strongest test side (i dont believe they'll have too much of a problem away in the subcontinent or elsewhere in the next few years) around now in part because of declining overall standards, few genuine quality pacers, limited bouncers, n trend towards flat pitches, inflated batting averages, high total wickets by bowlers not really of top quality due to frequency of tests n inclusion of bd, zimbabwe; i cant see this eng team being dethroned in next 5 years, they belong here.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 15:27 GMT)

it is a combination of both england's greatness and india's wretchness.

No matter how great this england team is INDIA is not a team to loose 4-0 if they play to their potential.

And at the same time

No matter how wretched the indian team is, england were never the team who could beat india 4-0 in a test sereis, so this england team is a lot better than any of its previous teams.......

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 15:25 GMT)

@soumik, well said mate, well said!!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 15:21 GMT)

I can't agree more with Sajid's candid observations about Indian batting's prowess . We are tigers albeit in thin air.

Posted by shamlaatu on (August 22, 2011, 15:20 GMT)

If the author of the article doesn't know the answer by now he should find another job or enjoy a retired life. What's next Mr. Bal, "Was Wasim Akram a great bowler or he just bowled to poor batsmen"?

Posted by shrastogi on (August 22, 2011, 15:18 GMT)

Thank God the ordeal is over for India. To be fair to them they were plagued by injuries & breakdowns and got some inexplicable poor umpiring decisions. Having watched India over the years never seen Indians plagued by so many injuries in such a short time. England werent great but Indian batting capitulated except for Dravid. Its a rude awakening. Plan better.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 15:17 GMT)

India is defeated squarely 0-4. The hurt which we as an Indian supporters feel is not only that we are defeated by above margin, but defeated as being No 1 by a No 3 team and by successively big, bigger and biggest margin. India put the No 1 spot into disrepute, let the ICC's numbering system being mocked and justified some commentators who were critical of India being Number 1 with weak in bowling resources. Defeat if taken sportingly and pondered in to to churn out some good ideas which benefit in log run and then take vow to hand over same result to opposition in next meeting will give something good for Cricket India even after loosing so badly.

Posted by TonyHancock on (August 22, 2011, 15:17 GMT)

I think this has to be the poorest touring team I have seen since I began to follow cricket in 1975. England is a good side, but has still to prove if it will go down in history as a great side. There is much left to prove. It has been such a shame, I was hoping for a good contest. On this showing India would struggle in the second division of the county championship. I only hope the BCCI is strong enough to sanction an independent report. Cricket needs a strong India.

Posted by professor_zero on (August 22, 2011, 15:13 GMT)

Now that the whitewash is complete, with India bundled out in a rush, we can confidently answer Sambit's question like so: "Both." (Dravid, however, was brilliant.)

Posted by chiggers on (August 22, 2011, 15:13 GMT)

@CricIndia208 - that's like saying that somebody who can take a go-kart for a spin round their back yard is a better driver than the World F1 Champion.

Posted by kadyannikhil on (August 22, 2011, 15:09 GMT)

In my opinion, the root cause of this defeat is the " glamorous" IPL. Ever since its birth, Indian team has produced dismal performances in every tournament post IPL. If the Indian board is the richest, it should reflect on the field as well. If we have to ensure our players are ready and fit for International Cricket, IPL has to be sacrificed. Englishmen have their priorities set right and the result is there for everybody to see. Its not the coach or lack of form or lack of practice games. I once again emphasize that IPL has taken its toll on Indian cricketers physically and mentally.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 15:08 GMT)

It is time Raina sticks to one dayers...HS is out test team, Sreesanth back to Ranji, Amit mishra cannot be your main spinner, Laxman/Sachin to decide when they want to ease out and let younger kids in. Bowlers like Aaron and Yadav along with Ishant have a bowling coach who did bowl fast in his career. Think outside Mishra and HS for bowlers maybe abdullah, Rahul and Ashwin.... Sack Srikanth and company and get people like Ganguly, kumble in to the selection along with Sreenath maybe ....otherwise Indians will be at the bottom very soon...

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (August 22, 2011, 15:06 GMT)

Bowlers win you Test matches and India currently do not have any who can perform consistently. It's too much to ask Sharma and Kumar to bowl teams out of his own and we're now seeing the effect of all the bowling they have done here and the WIndies. India have managed to win through smart cricket and other than the truly great Dravid have not show any level of smartness in any aspect of their game during this seriesor a hunger to compete. For too many years, the batting has hidden over the many cracks in Indian cricket and the only positive that can be taken from this series would be if the BCCI now accepts that the structure of Indian domestic cricket must change. I suspect however that whilst the rupees are rolling in from ODIs and IPL continues to be attract audiences, nothing will happen. When this cash cow eventually dries up it will then be too late for Indian cricket. In the meantime, India should focus on ODIs and 20/20.

Posted by markgixxer750 on (August 22, 2011, 15:05 GMT)

@CricIndia208 Get a grip on yourself sunshine, if it was so inconsequential you wouldn't feel the need to shout(CAPSLOCK). England are the ICC World Twenty20 Champions AND the ICC No1 Test Team and they have just whitewashed the previous incumbents (India) 4-0.

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (August 22, 2011, 15:05 GMT)

@CricIndia208: "Na na na na na, I'm not listening, we're still the best, the rest of you are all rubbish. We own the bat and ball, na na na. This series doesn't because we say so."

Posted by big_al_81 on (August 22, 2011, 15:04 GMT)

Well, it's all over and it's 4-0. A true reflection of the gulf in class between the sides. Herbet is right in that many Indian fans will continue to bleat on about the lack of Zaheer or Sehwag (but Harbhajan, really, has Dr Vindaloo lost the plot totally - the least frightening leading spinner in World Cricket?). It's been encouraging to see some Indians being very fair though and giving England due credit. We thank you! But for those(like @Rahul Vatsgotra) who continue to whine about the boring flat pitches of India, well, now we've just beaten you on one of those which is what the Oval is playing like in this Test! It's surprising that some Indian fans still think the problem is batting - it's not - it's that in 4 matches India only took 47 wickets to England's 80. You can't just go round the world drawing most games and squeezing the occasional victory and think that's good cricket - it was always going to catch up with you in the end. And how!

Posted by MartinC on (August 22, 2011, 15:04 GMT)

CricIndia208 - if you really believe one day cricket is the pinnacle of the game and that view catched hold more widely in India I fear for the future of the game in that Country.

Test cricket is and always should be the ultimate form of the game. A test of all aspects of the players technical, mental and physical skills as opposed to ODIs which are 'entertainment using cricket equipment' to borrow Bumbles famos quote, although he was talking about 20/20 Criclket.

The mania about ODI and 20/20 in India is partly the reason your young batsmen do not have the techniques or paitence to play long innings in testing conditions and why your bowlers can not take 20 wickets in a game when batsmen do not give their wickets away in a chase for quick runs.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 15:04 GMT)

Unfortunately for India, both happened at the same time.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 15:03 GMT)

Sambit hope you realize you didn't answer your question. But the fact remains that the mightiest of Indian batting has been found wanting in swinging conditions against a quality attack. This includes the all mighty Tendulkar. If you recall India vs New Zealand 2002. India won 2 ODIs in 9 games incl 2 tests against Bond, Tuffey and Oram.

Posted by shizam on (August 22, 2011, 15:02 GMT)

England has shown India its real place. All Indian batsmen are capable of playing are on dead Indian wickets. In all its cricket history India has not produced a single genuine pace bowler. They have produced very good medium pacers though. Lets see what this new kid Varun Aaron is capable of. Well done England. They really deserve it. Technically India does not even deserve to be No. 2.

Posted by gilly007 on (August 22, 2011, 15:02 GMT)

@Dr.Vindaloo . Seriously what does England have to do or any other team for that matter to be considered as better than India ???Harbhajan Singh ???? You've gotta be kidding. He did bowl and get fewer wickets than Raina . And no, thats not cause he created any pressure. Yes Zaheer would have made a difference but series altering one ???? Seriously doubt that....

And now the Big three - Sachin, Dravid, VVS would have to take a serious look at their futures. Course SRT wont retire without the 100th 100 and i am sure he will get it eventually but once they leave , India will plummet further cause they dont have replacements. By the way Zaheer isn't young either

Posted by harshthakor on (August 22, 2011, 15:00 GMT)

To me in terms of performance this is the best English team I have seen in my liftime and arguably the best since the war.Imagine beating the no1 taem in the world 4-0.Past West Indies and Australian champion teams did not acheive this.It is reminiscent of Ian Chappell's Aussie team's 5-1 triumph in 1975-76 and WEst Indies 1979-80 demolition of Gteg Chappell's Aussie team.Infact no great team has given such a comprehensive defaet to a full strength Aussie team like England did in the Ashes in Australia last sumer in 2010-11.

However in term sof man -to man talent I think even English teams led by Mike Brearley or earlier Peter May or Cowdrey were stronger.No way in this respect could this team compete to the champion West Indian and Aussie teams .India played disastrously beacuse of overplay and did not perform even 50% of their potential.It is simply ridiculous playing so much cricket.

Congrats England!

Posted by CollisKing on (August 22, 2011, 14:57 GMT)

A combination of very good England and very poor India. Was a single warm-up match sufficient preparation for the tourist's in English conditions for such an eagerly awaited series ? Surely three competitive 4-day matches should have been the absolute minimum. Insufficient time in the schedule for preparation why is there a meaningless one-day series at the end of the tour ? Greedy administrators. Are Indian batsman (Dravid apart) incapable of making scores when the ball is moving about and slips are stationed to catch the edges (unlike 1 day cricket). Test match cricket fans feel short-changed by this dreadfully one-sided series.

Posted by Alexk400 on (August 22, 2011, 14:55 GMT)

England showed how to plan and prepare. They were flawless. It is more of India's demise in that , the will to fight is not there. Sachin as usual try to sneak a century when no one was watching. He is always been a backdoor guy. For me reason india failed is due to sachin 100 century hoopla and duncan fletcher. I will fire dncan and dhoni at same time and start the rebuilding.No use continuing with oldies when you got drubberd 4-0. Dhoni did n't change team or batting order because he did not want to be scapegoat. He let it fail.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 14:52 GMT)

We Indian fans can offended at the scoreline, be shocked at the apathetic performances or be plain delusional stating "We won the World Cup, test matches don't matter!". Truth is, we were outplayed in all depts. by a better skilled and prepared outfit. We did well to hang on to top spot in Tests for this long, for no team - be it the WI (70's -80's) or AUS (90's , 00's) have had it so good without a single world class bowler. We had just Zaheer and Harbhajan, one is nearly 33, and hardly plays a full series remaining fit, another is fast running away from greatness. The less said about the batting (reliant on men well past their 35th B'day), the better. At the moment IND isn't as bad as they look, they've just lost confidence in their skills. ENG too, are very good but only performances outside home in tough conditions will prove their real worth. This probably is the best wake up call - there's no better wake up call than a complete insult to refurbish the system.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 14:51 GMT)

End of the series!! Phew, that was a nightmare.. Kudos to England! India needs to begin with a fresh template.. and by that I don't mean take out the seniors.. they contributed the most in the series from India's side. India needs a good spinner, good replacement in middle order (raina is seriously flawed in outside subcontinent conditions).. Dhoni needs to take a long break - he looks mentally jaded.. and he needs to drop some arrogance.. i can't help but think that Raina in the test team is becoz of Dhoni. We need a new replacement for zaheer.. a spearhead who can also stay fit. None of the points i have said are new, here's hoping that BCCI thinking the same way as us diehard Indian fans are. Please bring Kohli in - the guy is maturing faster than a banana in hot weather, and also Pujara.. and whoever else u want to try out, but keep Raina out of test team.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

Did I just enjoyed a genuine WHITE WASH? Sorry India your Cricket Gods couldn't save ya this time....just shh...

Posted by Trevor_G on (August 22, 2011, 14:47 GMT)

.......'both' answers your question.

Posted by kriskingle on (August 22, 2011, 14:47 GMT)

Sambit, however highly a series is hyped, in the end, it is a tussle between two teams for supremacy. The only thing that separates teams at this level is preparation. Though greatness and wretchedness are relative, when one team shows up undercooked for a series this big and don't show any willingness to learn on the job, then they are handing the other team the initiative, and giving them a psychological boost first up.

Posted by vickyrIND on (August 22, 2011, 14:46 GMT)

JAI HO T20, Money, Money and Money. All our super flops of the England series will again be super active in CL T20 and become superstar again. For Poor dhoni, honeymoon is over now and he got a real picture of the team. I am very pleased to see that Indian team getting thrashed like this. India always use to win their games marginally but they loose hugehly. This will give India an opportunity to interospect and find out the real solution.

Posted by Yabba on (August 22, 2011, 14:46 GMT)

Another point to remember, England lost one of their star batsmen in Jonathan Trott at Trent Bridge. In the 2 innings since, England have scored 710-7 and 591-6. That's the difference between England and India...

Posted by Rivka on (August 22, 2011, 14:44 GMT)

I see England fans complaining that England are not getting the credit which is their due in this series. I don't think that that is true. During the last few years, when India have been performing well, there have been times when the bowling, with its dependence on the tactical skills of Zaheer Khan, has been exposed. In this series the batting has been in complete disarray as well. While England have been the better side, I don' think that India couldn't have avoided being routed had a few key players been available.

Posted by kumarcoolbuddy on (August 22, 2011, 14:42 GMT)

@Sajid Hussain, Indian can play only on dead pitches but in these conditions is as false as Pak can win against India in WC. For your Information I have lot of respect to many Pak players but my comment is only to answer your question in your way style. Just for a moment forget about this series and now tell me about Indian batting. Hint: go back India stats of last ENG tour, AUS tour, NZ tour, WI tour, SA tour.

Posted by Yabba on (August 22, 2011, 14:42 GMT)

What I don't understand about the Indian fans comments is that the conditions have, except for The Oval, been very good for bowling. The point is that India have only one wicket taking bowler in Zaheer Khan - the rest are inconsistent and are better suited to one-day matches as they bowl negatively to contain rather than to take wickets. Look at Sreesanth & RP Singh - in 2007, they bowled at 85 mph plus - now they barely scrape 80...

Indian fans can continue papering over the cracks as long as they like - the truth is they just aren't good enough.

Posted by CricketChat on (August 22, 2011, 14:28 GMT)

I think the undeniable truth is that the aging top order was unable to cope with the moving ball in Eng. Most disappointing was Laxman. He just looked a shadow of his former self. He might come up with an odd good innings or two, but I think there is no point in playing him in only test cricket. Someone like a Pujara must be blooded soon. Based on the performance of Raina against both bounce and swing, there should be no illusion he is done as a test batsman. Kohli and even Badri must be in at no.6.

Posted by trepuR on (August 22, 2011, 13:28 GMT)

@ Rahul Vatsgotra. What are you talking about! Are you seriously of the view that a team should be measured by their performances on flat wickets, what a preposterous concept. Yes, England would not have fared so well in Indian conditions, but to have the nerve to claim that flat wicket performances are somehow worthy of more credit is simply frustrating. India is far better than what the series shows, losing Khan and Harbajan left a huge gap in their bowling attack - it's just a one off series - please. That is supreme arrogance and ignorance, India is a very strong side, but their abilities on wickets that require more than just swinging a bat the size of a tree trunk is incredibly suspect. With two full strength sides, I would love to have seen two series, with one in England and one in India back to back to truly assess the abilities of the two sides in varying conditions. To be a great side, you need to play well everywhere, neither of these two teams can do that yet.

Posted by CricketFanatic01 on (August 22, 2011, 12:49 GMT)

I'll go with India being wretched and England being great at the same time. I can hardly believe that India won the world cup, and are showing such dismal performances in England. This performance by India is very poor and England have made it even worse by crushing the Indians to a humiliating defeat.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 12:47 GMT)

Now a days, whenever we write about Indian Cricket team's sloppy performance, why do we forget that these boys have been delivering and doing the job since past few years without fail. This is the Indian team who has recently been crowned the world champions and have been top test team, one test series defeat does not prove anything. A burnout can happen. England is a very balanced, well matched opponent but Indian players are not origami tigers. The players have just lost rhythm which I think all of us hope will be back in no time.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 12:41 GMT)

Both. England are great and India are wretched.

Posted by Srini_Indian on (August 22, 2011, 12:37 GMT)

Well, England... Celebrate hard for being no.1 right now. Its just a glory for 4 or 5 months. After a couple of tours of sub-continent, English men will forget how to play cricket and they ll forget the no.1 ranking. I expect Srilanka and Pakistan to crush them in coming tours.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (August 22, 2011, 12:20 GMT)

All I can say is that Eng are better than most of us (yes me included) think, the Ashes was an indicator, and Ind are not as good (yes even the batting, I admit I was fooled again) as we thought. Just goes to show that perhaps standards have dropped and to what extent a good "paper" team SA choke.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 12:04 GMT)

Apart from accepting India failed.. we also need to be reasonable in assessing the failure. Just saying India's batting has been exploited , in a matter of few weeks" against a fit bowling attack that too at their home soil.. is too premature..

All Ind. fans and other fans arnd the world.. know that we are not this bad a side. Reason for failure: 1) Under preparation + IPL 2)Injuries to key players at key moments esp. Zak 3) Bad BCCI planning 4) WC hangover/stress/ 5) Bad timing of Indian batting.. either chasing a big 1st or 2nd inning score or Damp conditions.. Eng got better weather when they played. 6) Fresh England side

Eng. need to try and wind atleast a test in Sub-Cont tours to even coming close to being called a No1 side.. Just beating Bang. Pak at home doesnt mean they r No1. But all said and done they are a good side but defn.. need to prove more...

Posted by de.rahul on (August 22, 2011, 11:42 GMT)

England have beaten Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the last six months. Plus they had a completely fit squad which hasn't played any cricket since there world cup exit. They are worthy no 1 for now. They have easily the best bowling attack in the world. However I think there batting wasn't tested by the Indians, and it remains to be seen how well they are against a good bowling attack. Also lets not forget England got smashed in India in 2008 where they didn't win a match in test and ODI. As an Indian fan we must respect the English performance, but not jump at the Indian teams throat.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 10:40 GMT)

India can bat well on dead pitches and may increase their match count, but on these conditions they are worst then the Bangladesh team....

Posted by soumik on (August 22, 2011, 10:33 GMT)

I'm happy in a sense that this series has given the Indian cricket fans their true identity.WE weren't quite the Indian fans for last 3 year that we used to be before when based on our experience we exactly knew which match to watch and which part of it.In that way we developed a habit of watching India playand at the same time managed all our other works.There was a great harmony in life.But things were quite different in last 3 years.For example,I always knew India would lose a touring in any country outside India,would lose any test match when batting in 4th innings(or at best draw it).But India wren't quite playing like India.Now they are.And I'm very happy that I can go back to my same old predictive routine..One more thing,don't say anything against Raina.CLT20 is coming and that's in India.He will be a superstar there battering all helpless souls in his backyard.Also MSD,SRT and GG who are so tired etc etc will be super-active by then.People will aos forget about England series!

Posted by Dr.Vindaloo on (August 22, 2011, 9:52 GMT)

Let's not underestimate the difference that Zaheer and Harbhajan would have made to the series. Any side in the world would struggle against England if they were deprived of their two most experienced bowlers with almost 700 test wickets between them. Even if they weren't running through the England batting it is inconveivable that England would have been able to post such totals with those two contributing 50 of the overs. And it has been those totals that have put big pressure on the Indian batting. Psychologically it is so much harder to bat in the face of a 500+ total or a massive first innings deficit, as the fielding side can exert pressure all day through attacking fields. So while you have to acknowledge that England have been a hugely superior side, the margin of their superiority has been greatly magnified by the absence of those two. Big shame for the series I think.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 9:52 GMT)

without taking anything away from england let's see how they perform on flat pitches.i still believe englis h bowler's made good conditions to good use while indians couldn't.remember this is the same team which did well in south africa and australia and in england way back in 2007. so you cant question about their ability.it's just one off series

Posted by CricIndia208 on (August 22, 2011, 9:38 GMT)

INDIA ARE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS. WE HOLD THE WORLD CUP. This inconsequential test series does not matter. ODI World Cup in the pinnacle of the game and England are rubbish in that.

Posted by Herbet on (August 22, 2011, 9:16 GMT)

What would England have to do to get credit from Indian fans? It's a pointless question because it will never happen. We are more than likely going to beat their team 4-0, at least 3 of which will have been crushing victories. We have just walloped Australia in Australia, winning thrice by an innings. We have been bowling sides for sub 100 scores for fun over the last 12 years, 3 different sides as well. Our batsmen have racked up as many 200's in 15 months as we got in the previous 15 years… But no, its all just because Zaheer Khan hurt himself, and really, because Dhoni has hit a couple of 50's when India have been 100/7, our bowlers aren't that good. Makes sense I suppose.

Posted by safwan_Umair on (August 22, 2011, 9:14 GMT)

how the mighty have fallen. This has been a disgraceful performance. further indication of how arrogant behaviour is detrimental to performing at the top echelons of sport. they say, pride comes before the fall. I am not sure if england should go over the moon with their celebrations. they will need to play well for another 5 years to be considered a true champion team.

Posted by Herbet on (August 22, 2011, 8:59 GMT)

India have demonstrated reoccurring deficiencies in this series in struggling against swing and bounce. There recent success masked this long standing problem due to the presence of a couple of once in a lifetime batsmen. I'd say the time is about right for India to do something about it! Their young batsmen who are on the verge of the test side; Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Mukund, Raina etc should be encouraged/made to play County Cricket. The BCCI could use some of their infamous cash reserves to sweet talk counties into taking them by agreeing that they will pay their wages as part of their central contract, rather than the county. They'd play a lot of games, giving them the chance to work at their game, and they'd be exposed to a lot of seaming and bouncy wickets, which would give them new skills. It's a no brainer for me, and I think Australia need to do the same. They should lay a few new hard, bouncy pitches in India too to encourage their quick bowlers to attack more.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (August 22, 2011, 8:46 GMT)

This is a good England side. Brilliant? I don't think so. Not yet, but seriously good, yes. The team was at a desperately low ebb early in 2009 but, since then, has won against West Indies and Austalia at home, drawn in South Africa, won in Bangladesh, beaten Bangladesh and Pakistan at home, beaten Australia in Australia and the Si Lanka and India at home. P30, W19, D7, L4. England has played every Test playing side apart from New Zealand in that time and its worst result was the draw in South Africa. It's a strong case. The next job is to win in Sri Lanka next winter. That will be tough. Probably harder than winning in India. Do that and the side can consider itself a bit special.

Posted by Herbet on (August 22, 2011, 8:45 GMT)

India have been bad and England have been good. Whether India really are as bad as they look and England as good as they have looked only time will tell. Its no exageration to say that Bangladesh and especially Pakistan, who's bowlers really tested England, did a better job than India have. Everybody knew already that Raina and Yuvraj cant play bounce and Laxman struggles against swing and so Sehwag, Dravid and Tendulkar were going to have to stand up, unfortunately only Dravid has, and he has proven his greatness. The sheer lack of fitness, after watching the Ashes between two fit sides, has been shocking. No Indian looks particularly fit, some are thin, but not strong and the rest are downright fat. I'm talking Tendulkar, Sehwag, Dhoni, Mishra, Gambhir, Yuvraj. I can't imagine Duncan Fletcher will let that carry on. The sheer paucity in bowling has been shocking too. Until that is addressed, and with Zahaeer being 33 he cant be relied on, then I'd imagine India will fall further.

Posted by HazyClarity on (August 22, 2011, 8:43 GMT)

Lots of questions. Its always good asking questions. As Einstein said "The important thing is not to stop questioning" Again, a brilliant article...

Posted by Cricketer2010 on (August 22, 2011, 8:41 GMT)

on papers both teams look equal......England having an edge of home conditions....... with this bowling attack India was never near to win a match in England but if their batsmen can do better then there would be draws of atleast 2/3 matches

in India this Edge would shift to India.....but it would not be a 4-0 white wash in India......... the discovery of this tour is Amit Mishra's batting........he should have played at number 3 :) he is looking a far better batsman than Raina and company......

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 8:40 GMT)

@rahulcricket007

"FLINTOFF WAS A TECHNICALLY MORE SOUND BATSMEN THAN BROAD AND HE HAS BATTED WELL IN MANY DIFICULT SITUATIONS"

Have you actually watched either of them bat? Broad has one of the best cover drives in the game, plays with a straight bat and will end up with a better batting average than Flintoff. If he occassionally hits out it's because he is coming in lower down the order when quick runs are required. No one in their right mind would describe Flintoff's batting as "technically sound", on the other hand. Great eye for a ball, immense strength and, on his day, good timing. But none of it was technically sound.

I wonder which way Indian cricket will go after this series? Retreat into a 20-20 parody of DLF maximums and dancing girls, or man up and try hard to get the #1 Test ranking back? I sincerely hope it's the latter, but I fear it will be the former.

Posted by wibblewibble on (August 22, 2011, 8:33 GMT)

Anyone who thinks England aren't #1 just needs to check the ratings. If SA win all their games before we play again, then they will be #1. This concept is not so hard to understand.

However, #1 is just the start. Listen to Flower and Strauss, getting to #1 was just the target they were working towards. Now, the target is domination, to try to prove that this side isn't just good, it's great. To do that, we need a really strong winter tour, and to beat teams in the sub-continent, and SA in SA. Can't wait!

Posted by Stone-Aamir on (August 22, 2011, 8:30 GMT)

One aspect Samit should also have discussed was the captains of the two sides. their approch and mental toughness in difficult situations, team selection and their utilization, and planning for the different phases of the game. Strauss has totally outclassed Dhoni in all aspects of captaincy, his approch was very positive and england played to win not just trying not to lose a match.

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (August 22, 2011, 8:27 GMT)

@ansram: The Pakistani young batsmen last year may well have been out of their depth, (which isn't surprising when they had a combined Test experience of less than Sehwag alone).... BUT THEY AT LEAST TRIED!! Where's the excuse in not trying? If you're rubbish, fair play, but if you don't even bother, then don't expect sympathy. That's what most people are perplexed about. That's what most people are criticising.

Posted by gentlemans-game on (August 22, 2011, 8:06 GMT)

I think the matter quite simply boils down to who wanted to be No. 1 more. Looking at the scoreline, it appears England wanted it more than India wanted to continue occupying it. It's not 'just a series loss' and 'wait till England come to India' as some hopeful India supporters kid themselves. India had no plans of staying at the top, and felt getting there was good enough. It does not matter how long England stay at the top now, what matters (or should matter) is that India is not there anymore.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 8:04 GMT)

In very English conditions, a Zaheer-less India had no chance. Lesson for India is to make sure they find, and in a hurry, the next Zaheer and the next Kumble. Without such bowling strengths, India will struggle to win tests on flat pitches and even draw them on sporting pitches.

Posted by LONG_JOHN_SILVER on (August 22, 2011, 7:57 GMT)

I think we have to accept that there are now no "Super" bowlers around like Shane warne, Glen Magrath, Murali etc and that since the retirement of players like them and batsmen such as Gilchrist,Hayden and Lara the current test playing nations have all fallen into the middle ground. The reason England stand out is because they bond well as a team and have plenty of depth in bowling and that their players have the beleif in themselves. England are by far the best team in the world at the moment but lets see them in India and South Africa before we start to compare them to great teams of the past!

Posted by anuradha_d on (August 22, 2011, 7:48 GMT)

India simply were not IN MENTALLY, experiencing the rare Nirvana and with head in the clouds, after the W'Cup win. A joyful release of intensity..for having won the 3 decades of MOST covoted prize. Just like Eng were in a release mode after winning Ashes and coming to W'Cup treating it as a SIDE EVENT...and got whipped by BD and IRE.

and that Sehwag, Zaheer, Gambhir, Bhaj were unfit further deterioated India's cause. None of that is England's fault. And yet for no fault of theirs....their wins are TAINTED and the worthiness as #1 not validated....because if the sheer one-sidedness.

Eng are CIRCUMSTANTIAL #1, because it wasn't won in a competiton, but purely based on CIRCUMSTANCES. Like a NO-SHOW win when opponent fails to turn up.

the onesidedness is is ASSURING, this cannot be REAL & PERMANENT. In months to come both Eng and Ind will hit reality corrections...Ind upwards...and Eng towards mortality

Posted by Arun_S. on (August 22, 2011, 7:33 GMT)

Is Raina a better bowler than Mishra? Is Mishra a better batsman than Raina??

Posted by ansram on (August 22, 2011, 7:14 GMT)

During Eng/Pak series, Eng had a batting average of 31.96 and Pak had 17.19. Very similar to the ratios in this series. Pak had a superior bowling attack while India's batting was marginally superior than Pakistan. Pak managed one win even when they scored three sub 100 scores while India did not put up fight of any kind. So you can say that Pak did better than India overall. Considering that India came officially here as no.1, this has to be one of the most wretched performances ever in the annals of test cricket. It remains to be seen if this is a one off series or a definte slide has begun. One more Dravid like performance would have seen India drawing one or two tests. I think Indian batsmen were in poor form and not out of depth completely else we would have seen sub 100 scores like Paks. Indian batsmen never came to terms with Eng bowling ( a mental thing?) and could not convert starts into big scores. The less be said about the bowlers the better.

Posted by cricketpurist on (August 22, 2011, 7:04 GMT)

Ok, Boss we lost a series so what... its not end of the world. VVS,Sachin are due for a big score just wait till december its not england but aussies who are our real enemies and that will spur up the spirit to perform.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 6:58 GMT)

It appears England are a better side than I'd given them credit for when they were out here in Australia last summer. And India are probably not as good as they've been given credit for. The most encouraging thing from England's point of view is the age of their bowling attack. Dynasties are built on strong bowling and as long as you've got good bowling you'll always be competitive, irrespective of your batting. The batsmen are just under too much pressure if the bowlers are dismissing the opposition, as India are finding out.

Posted by hraghava on (August 22, 2011, 6:55 GMT)

I doubt we ever deserved to be #1. Heck, even the time at so called #1 was unplanned or hastily patched. Bangladesh right after beating SL at home, the tests in 2010 v SA, v SL and v AUS were all arranged affairs no doubt aided with a gentle dose of BCCI's charm! As much as I love them, I didn't truly feel this was a #1 team. We didn't win a series outside the sub-con before the tour to WI... What were we thinking? We remain (Pakistan aside) the sport's most unathletic side, fundmental issues against the short & moving ball persist, our youngsters are not as good as their deals suggest, and the BCCI head stays in the sand! It needs fundamental change. Stop IPL, it has damaged Indian Cricket. Relay Indian picthes to offer concrete, bounce, pace and seam movement. Bring Varun Aaron, Rahul Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Abu Nechim to the fore, prevent them from the IPL for the next 5-6 years, they play test cricket and ODI's only. If we want to be #1, act like we want to WIN it, not by default.

Posted by Doogius on (August 22, 2011, 6:43 GMT)

India is poor on any wicket with something in it. In England, the get a whole tour of it :)

Posted by shubham3 on (August 22, 2011, 6:38 GMT)

I think its a mixture of both.England have played like true champions .In the first 2 tests there were moments in match when England were in trouble and they could have crumbled under pressure but they have gone on to play like true champions and totally demoralized India in 3rd and 4th test(till Day 4).While India is a team that is heavily dependent on its starting XI.Even in their XI they lost Sehwag(was affected by injury in 2 tests he played) & trump card Zaheer to injuries.Their main spinner was(still is) out of form.Their no. 6 batsmen cant play a bouncer properly.Then India's famous batting line(except Dravid) was certainly not ready(mentally as well as Physically) for Superb England pace bowling.India have batted poorly & their inexperienced pace(if it can be called so) line-up has not been consistent enough.Also India's fielding has been a huge let down esp. their catching.They normally dont drop these many catches. So its a good team playing badly & other playing like champs

Posted by aarpee2 on (August 22, 2011, 6:33 GMT)

An average England side would have held is own on home conditions.This one had drubbed Australia in DownUnder 3-1 -all 3 wins by an innings.This was possible because the batsmen made big totals and the bowlers bowled their hearts out to picik up 20 wickets.Therefore it was never going to be easy for india to defend their ranking.This was further compounded by our lack of preparation, bad selection and poor fitness levels. Knee jerk reactions with Batting order,bad fielding and lack of disciplline and penetration by the bowlers added to our woes.England played as a professional unit and outplayed us in all departments by a mile.It remains to be seen how they perform in the sub-continent in a bid to retain their No 1 ranking. The only glimmer of hope was in the 2nd test at Trent Brdige on the second with a lead of 150 in the first innings at 273 for 4 we collapsed by losing 5 wickets at the same score did we allow us to be swept away in the series- the turning point

Posted by pradeepkanchan on (August 22, 2011, 6:30 GMT)

I would like to congratulate the winning England team ....But I still feel they are not No 1 ...unless they can win in India....

Posted by getsetgopk on (August 22, 2011, 6:23 GMT)

It all comes down to bowling. If India had the kind of pace attack England has then not in a billion years would they have been able to score so many runs. the current indian bowling attack is nothing more than a club level attack.

Posted by kumarcoolbuddy on (August 22, 2011, 6:01 GMT)

It's very simple. Among these bastmen SRT, Sehwag, VVS, RD, Gambhir, Dhoni if any two of them play confidently ENG bowlers automatically lose confidence. It happened in some sessions. If anyone calls them flat track bullies then they are either against to India or poor at Stats. ENG fans might feel I am arrogant but if you think neutrally my comments sound reasonable. And I don't mean to take away ENG's credit. It is harmful for ENG bowlers if you rate their performance based on this series. I don't mean to demoralize them but this is not right competitive series though there is no fault of ENG.

Posted by sramesh_74 on (August 22, 2011, 5:53 GMT)

England have been the superior side in this series...no doubt about that. How long will they last at the top?? Can they match the Aussie sides of the late 90s and early part of this decade?? That will be interesting.. England have always been good at home...which team isn't? How will Anderson and Co. fare on the featherbeds in Lanka and India? I would love to see that and then talk about them being a 'great' side.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 5:53 GMT)

Sambit I would say- Both!

But would like to add few other things too, just a few. India were Never strong as they were presented in Test Cricket, one has to accept it for it's the truth & England were Never as weak as the Indian Fans & Media presented them. This also has to be accepted. To me England always had the upper hand in this series given their players' form, team's balance & of course playing on Home soil. But most strikingly India were not that bad as the series so far has suggested. It was to be a good battle between two good sides but India let all down, let the Cricket down by literally surrendering to England.

As a conclusion- DO NOT take anything away from England. They were good unit, determined to play well against high-flying India. On the other hand, India, being not bad suffered historically mainly coz of their over-confidence. I would like to add here- India got thrashed for not respecting the finest & purest form of this sport & i. e. Test Match Cricket!

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 5:44 GMT)

india should save the match

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (August 22, 2011, 5:32 GMT)

WOW ! SAMBIT YOU ARE COMPARING BROAD TO FLINTOFF . HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT ? FLINTOFF WAS A TECHNICALLY MORE SOUND BATSMEN THAN BROAD AND HE HAS BATTED WELL IN MANY DIFICULT SITUATIONS .ON THE OTHER HAND BROAD IS LIKE A PINCH HITTER . HE COMES AT THE CREASE AND START HIITING THE BOWL EVERYWHERE . HE IS IN THE SAME LEAGUE OF JOHNSON , HARBHAJAN WHICH ACN BAT WELL ON THEIR DAY . AND IF THAT'S THE CASE THEN I THINK BRESNAN SHOULD BE COMPARED TO SIR GARFIELD SOBBERS .

Posted by Teem on (August 22, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

You have perfectly captured the pulse. But I would disagree that the Indian batting has been found out by the England bowling attack. Inspite of their performances, Anderson/Broad/Bresnan/Tremlett clearly do not belong to McGrath/Steyn/Ambrose/Wasim category which this line up has handled with aplomb.

The only regret here is that the under-prepared Indian team leaves you with a feeling of what could have been.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 5:12 GMT)

One thing is for sure. This is the most skillful and fittest bowling attack, England has had in atleast the last 25 years.

Posted by Sanj747 on (August 22, 2011, 5:11 GMT)

Don't think England are great nor are they the number 1 team in the world simply because some ICC ranking system that is totally irrelevant. To be called great you have to perform for many years consistently in all different conditions. The other question is was India really the number 1 team. The answer to this is also NO.

Posted by CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on (August 22, 2011, 5:06 GMT)

Well stats dont lie and as they say what u sow so u reap test cricket has been the priority of englishmen since times immemorial and still is no matter how much we banter WC trophies I cant but admire their professionalism(a pivotal term) physical,mental strength to withstand 5 days and most importantly hunger for no1 spot and i dont think it was dear to us had it been we would have had 3 warmup games lik eng had during ashes 10-11 it would not have matter if we had lost even after 3 warmups its just intent

Posted by Emancipator007 on (August 22, 2011, 4:59 GMT)

attacks in 3 innings and SL did well in 3 Tests barring 1 innings.Pak's team won a Test with average batting unit. Just that Eng played VERY efficiently ad RUTHlessly once they pulled away from India. Their batters hardly performed in first 2 Tests.But once India's confidence DIPPED, Eng took off. One more THING: Ganguly would not have allowed India to be so badly Beaten. He would have been HARSH on his team. Remember Ganguly never lost to no. 1 ranked and much tougher S. Waugh' s team and also to Nasser Hussain's teams. These DEFEATS are rankling him.

Posted by Emancipator007 on (August 22, 2011, 4:56 GMT)

played so well along with SRT's fantastic 2 year run and VVS's 4th innings show. SHOWS that a FIT Viru with Dravid's run making in this series along with an available Zaheer would have made India more competitive. One more factor: the SHAME is that a well-paid backroom staff of coaches/analysts DID NOT help a beleaguered captain who is also WK (one of the toughest jobs for concentrating which can freeze thought-making processes) with tactics/maneuvers to help STEM run flow in 2nd Test Eng 2nd innings. There are many ways to get messages thru to captains and then FORCE even erratic and ill-disciplined Indian bowlers to bowl to those plans w/o necessarily picking wickets. NO ONE seems to be mentioning that backroom staff can help captain on-field too whenever he is RAGGED and Dhoni was for 2nd Test and 3rd Test again. BTW:this English team needs to be attacked and see how they wilt; shown by Dhoni/tailenders in this series. So no way are they great as Tamim pounded this very same TBC.

Posted by Emancipator007 on (August 22, 2011, 4:55 GMT)

Sambit, have been asking many such questions myself. If you analyze closely, you will NOTICE that England PULLED away from India only on the 8th day of the series, on the 3rd day of the 2nd Test when Bhajji went AWOL (this I say as one of his supporters for his combative attitude against tough sides Aus,SA) and runs just FLOWED.Ironically, India could also have WON or Drawn the 1st test when they had England 62/5 and just 240 odd ahead. Another factor is the BIG SEHWAG factor. Look closely since Aug 2008, Sehwag's small and large batting blasts have given Indian middle order bats confidence. In Perth 2008, he got a blistering 40 in 1st innings to set tone. In SA last year, he scored a RAPID 69 in 2nd innings and gave India momentum and confidence to win 2nd Test. More than Zaheer picking wickets after famed Indian batting order have been giving him cushion in no. 1 phase, it is Viru who has been the catalyst. NOTE how Dravid's batting failures for 2 years did not matter as Viru/Gambhir

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Sambit Bal Editor-in-chief Sambit Bal took to journalism at the age of 19 after realising that he wasn't fit for anything else, and to cricket journalism 14 years later when it dawned on him that it provided the perfect excuse to watch cricket in the office. Among other things he has bowled legspin, occasionally landing the ball in front of the batsman; laid out the comics page of a newspaper; covered crime, urban development and politics; and edited Gentleman, a monthly features magazine. He joined Wisden in 2001 and edited Wisden Asia Cricket and Cricinfo Magazine. He still spends his spare time watching cricket.

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