The Oval: The hapless Indians have been outplayed, outclassed, outmatched, outperformed, outstripped, outranked and whitewashed by the flawless English.
Over the period of one month, England monopolized Test cricket in their own way dictating terms against the despondent Indians.
Near about a month back on July 21, the 2000th Test match at Lord’s had raised a lot of hopes. It was touted to be the clash of Titans and it eventually ended as an absolute cropper at The Oval on 22 August.
Even the most talked about sub-plot of Sachin’s century of centuries ended unachieved as an anti-climax on the final day.
Just for the stats, England powered to victory by an innings and 8 runs against India on the final day of the fourth Test of the npower series. India were bundled out for 283.
Graeme Swann finished with six wickets in the second innings with Sachin Tendulkar (91)and Amit Mishra (84) putting up a fight for a brief period before missing out on their centuries.
With this victory England are now officially the World No.1 Test team with 125 points and India have slipped down to third.
On Day 5, S Sreesanth was the last of the Indian wickets to fall, as the temperamental pacer tried heaving one over the moon off Swann only to be bowled.
The abject Indian series was reaching the inevitable conclusion and it was given some pace by Gautam Gambhir, who probably in a fit of rage or because of his apparent head injury came down the wicket with an extravagant bat swing only to edge one to Pietersen at point. Graeme Swann, who was largely out of the limelight for major part of the series, fittingly, gave the finishing touches to England’s monumental victory.
Before Gauti’s wicket, Suresh Raina had managed to put his name in the record books registering the longest pair in terms of balls in a Test match surpassing Bangladesh’s Rajin Saleh. Raina played out a grueling 42 balls in both innings yet failed to open his account.
Though, his bat-pad close in catch was very contentious with fingers raised at the on field Umpires.
Amit Mishra and Sachin Tendulkar had earlier put up a valiant fight in the middle and it seemed that India could salvage a hard fought draw. But that was not to be.
Amit Mishra who played like a batsman possessed even outplayed Sachin at few instances putting the Indian top-order in shame.
If the tailenders had a close look at Mishra’s innings, they could have taken cues from his gritty innings of staying at the pitch and trying to salvage some pride.
But the tailenders, which also included MS Dhoni failed to see anything as they stuck to their extravagant yet worthless swings and misses.
In the second innings, only Mishra and Tendulkar build on a solid partnership of 144, the only century partnership for the innings, and interestingly it was the second hundred run partnership of the entire series for India.
England on the other hand racked up 10 partnerships over hundred out of which two were over two hundred and three hundred.
It has been a horrible show from India and right from the onset they were playing catch up against England.
The 4th Test at The Oval was presumably the best chance for India to redeem themselves but as has been the case England were not in a mood to give away any sort of reprieve.
They amassed up a mammoth score of 591 as the batsmen made merry with Ian Bell scoring his career best 235 and Kevin Pietersen (175)racking up his second big score after his double at Nottingham.
In reply India managed 300, the first of the series with a gallant effort by Rahul Dravid (146*).
Dravid had been the only batsman on show for India in the English summer and the ‘The Wall just refused to crumble down.
Asked to follow on, Indian opener Virender Sehwag survived the first over but perished to a beauty of a delivery by Swann.
Even the exhausted Rahul Dravid gave in eventually, DRS being questioned again.
The writing on the wall was evident as even one whole day’s rain delay could not help India`s cause.
Suresh Raina had been the failure of the series and Gautam Gambhir, the established Indian opener failed to impress on his first ever tour to England.
VVS Laxman carried his bewildered look throughout the series and for the first time MS Dhoni was pushed to the limit and failed rather generously.
As far as the bowlers are concerned, well, a collective sigh of disappointment will do justice to their efforts.