England fire to top of Test rankings

Hosts win third Test by an innings and 242 runs to replace opponents India as the top-rated team in the world.

    Tendulkar made 40 before being run out backing up as India's batting order capitulated at Edgbaston [GALLO/GETTY]

    England surged to the top of the world rankings after crushing India by an innings and 242 runs in the third Test to secure their sixth consecutive series win.

    Fast bowler James Anderson claimed four for 85 as India were dismissed for 244 after lunch on Saturday's fourth day at Edgbaston, giving the home team a 3-0 lead in the four-match series.

    India's batsmen capitulated for the third successive match against England's bowling attack.

    Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was India's top scorer for the second time in the Test, with 74 not out, but the game was over when Shanthakumaran Sreesanth edged Tim Bresnan to Kevin Pietersen in the gully.

    "There's not many bowling units better than ours in the world," said England captain Andrew Strauss at the presentation ceremony.
    "It's been a goal of ours to reach the top of the rankings for a long time. It's a great testament to everyone involved in the England set up and fills me with a lot of pride."

    England's series victory takes them top of the rankings ahead of South Africa and previous leaders India.

    Alastair Cook's career-best 294 laid the foundations on Friday when England racked up a massive 710 for seven declared in reply to India's first innings 224.

    "Congratulations to England," said Dhoni.

    "We've not been up to the mark in this series and the margin of defeats have been getting bigger and bigger.

    "There are areas we need to improve in the side ... but overall to play really good cricket you have to be consistent and that's what England have done."

    Anderson ripped through the top order to reduce India to 116 for six at lunch.

    With the sun shining at Edgbaston and the pitch slow but encouraging spin, India were presented with good batting conditions but were unable to cope with Anderson from the outset.

    First ball
    They resumed on 35 for one and Anderson had opener Gautam Gambhir (14) caught by Swann at second slip off the batsman's first ball of the day.

    That was 35 for two and it became 40 for three when the usually reliable Rahul Dravid (18) edged behind.
    Anderson reserved his best delivery of the morning for VVS Laxman (2) as he shaped the ball from middle stump to off and found an edge to the wicketkeeper.

    That was 56 for four and it was 87 for five when Suresh Raina (10) was lbw to Swann.

    World record-breaker Sachin Tendulkar looked at his best for the 95 minutes he occupied the crease, hitting eight boundaries including an elegantly-timed straight drive off Tim Bresnan.

    But he was dismissed in the cruellest of fashions when a Dhoni drive was deflected on to the non-striker's stumps by Swann's fingertips.

    Tendulkar was just out of his ground and the third umpire sealed his fate.

    Among the rattle of wickets, perhaps the most bizarre sight was wicketkeeper Matt Prior opting to don a helmet and stand up to Anderson as a tactic to prevent Tendulkar from standing outside of his crease. It lasted one ball.

    Amit Mishra's aggression proved his undoing in the third over of the afternoon session as he tried to drive Swann and was caught by a diving Stuart Broad at mid off for 22.

    Praveen Kumar sliced his first ball for four, gloved another just over Swann and then decided to go out with a flourish, smashing Swann for a four and two sixes off successive balls.

    That saved India from the ignominy of their worst-ever Test defeat – by an innings and 336 runs against West Indies in 1958 – and enlived the crowd, but he eventually fell for 40 to Broad, caught by Ravi Bopara at mid-off.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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