Series gone, pride at stake for India in Oval Test
London: With the series already out of their grasp, a bruised and battered India will be hoping to redeem some pride and avoid a humiliating whitewash when they take on a rampant England in the fourth and final cricket Test starting on Thursday at The Oval.
Coming into the series as world`s numero uno Test team, India`s reputation took a huge beating after England crushed the visitors by huge margins in the first three Tests to snatch away the number one position from them.
And for the Indians, already under severe criticism for their shoddy performance in the series so far, another defeat means they will slip further to the number three position in the Test rankings behind South Africa.
But Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who suffered his first series loss as India captain, will be desperate for a turnover of fortunes as a win in the Oval Test will not only save the visitors from the ignominy of a series whitewash but also give them the required impetus before the five-match ODI series.
In their Test annals of 79 years, India has suffered the shame of losing four Tests or more and a complete whitewash only thrice -- 5-0 against England (1959) and the West Indies (1961-62) and 4-0 against Australia (1967-68).
There have been three other occasions when India has been blanked 3-0 -- twice against England in 1967 and 1974 and once against Australia (1999-2000).
The good news, however, for India is that the final Test of the series will be played at The Oval, a venue known for high scores and also a ground where the visitors boast of a good record.