England rule the world with whitewash

England celebrate a 4-0 series whitewash over rivals India as they officially become the number one ranked side.

    England capped off their number one ranking by securing a series whitewash over India at the Oval [GALLO/GETTY]

    It's official - England are the number one ranked team in the world after sealing a momentous whitewash over India in the fourth and final Test at the Oval on Monday.

    Graeme Swann with 6-106 was the bowler of the day on the day that England could finally celebrate their total dominance over the world’s former top ranked team.

    Despite an afternoon fightback from India with Sachin Tendulkar and Amit Mishra at the crease, England did not have to return for their second innings after Swann and Stuart Broad secured the wickets needed to claim victory.

    India's batting hero Tendulkar got tantalisingly close to securing his 100th century, only to fall to an exultant Tim Bresnan with nine runs to go.

    Throughout the Test series, India have been kicked from pillar to stumps by a revived England team that showed no mercy with the bat, the ball and in the field.

    India's player of the series Rahul Dravid put it best when he suggested it would take half an hour to explain his team's dismal performances on Sky Sports. 

    England's innings and eight run victory at the Oval gave them a 4-0 series win and put them above South Africa in the rankings, as India moved down to third.

    Fast bowler Stuart Broad was crowned England's player of the series as leading wicket-taker with 25 wickets to Jimmy Anderson's 21. Broad also performed well with the bat - hitting 64 and 44 at the second Test at Trent Bridge to help England open up a crucial 2-0 lead in the series.

    When England sealed their third Test win over India at Edgbaston, also an innings victory, it meant a team that used to live in the shadows of the West Indies and Australia were, in the best way, equal to none.

    Fighting to end

    However, the whitewash didn't come too easily for England after India's batsmen finally began to show a bit of class with Tendulkar and Mishra creating a solid partnership.

    "We were struggling for ideas there for a little while but we knew with one wicket it could change," England captain Andrew Strauss said.

    "It's been up there with the best series we've played as a group.

    "We've had a lot of victories over the last couple of years and we expect to win matches now."

    After Dravid had carried India through the first-innings with 146 not out, it had looked for a time as though Tendulkar and the unheralded Mishra could salvage a draw.

    "We've had a lot of victories over the last couple of years and we expect to win matches now"

    England's confident captain Andrew Strauss

    Mishra, promoted up the order as Gautim Gambhir dropped down following his second-day concussion, swept and cut to match his career-best first-class score and better his previous Test high by 34.

    But the pair's 134-run fourth-wicket stand - India's best partnership of a dismal series - ended when Swann ended 17 overs of frustration by bowling him with a delivery that he simply missed.

    "He's got the ability to get quite frustrated at times but he had to bowl a lot of overs over two days," Strauss said of the spinner, who had been overshadowed by the pace bowlers for much of the series.

    "There's a lot of expectation of him on a wicket that turns a lot but he delivered again."

    The home crowd celebrated that breakthrough but, such is Tendulkar's standing as one of Test cricket's all-time greats, that a hush fell over the south London ground when Bresnan dismissed him.

    The 38-year-old Tendulkar hit his first of his 52 Test centuries in England aged 17 in 1990, saving the second Test at Old Trafford with 119 not out, but like most of his teammates had struggled as England won the first three Tests.

    But what could be his last Test innings in England was far from a classic knock.

    Tendulkar was dropped twice off Swann, by Alastair Cook on 70 at short leg and Matthew Prior on 85 behind the stumps.

    He also survived two lbw shouts against the spinner before Bresnan finally ended his highest innings of the series.

    And Swann was suddenly on a roll, getting rid of Suresh Raina, Gambhir and last-man Sreesanth for figures of 6-106.

    Man of the series Broad claimed captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and RP Singh for 2-44 off 20 overs.

           Impressing with bat and ball Broad was awarded the player of the series [GALLO/GETTY] 

    While England's bowlers took all 20 Indian wickets for the fourth time in four Tests, India managed to take only 47 in total.

    But Dhoni said the batsmen - and a hectic international schedule - were to blame for the heavy losses.

    Other than Dravid, who became the first player ever to score three centuries for a team that lost every Test in a series, no India batsman scored a hundred.

    England's Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell between them scored 264 more than Tendulkar, Dhoni, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag and Gambhir combined.

    "The problem was we didn't get a score over 300," Dhoni said.

    "We tried our best but we did not get much time together before the series because the players were coming from the West Indies."

    Weary or not, ill-prepared or not, England have made India look distinctly average throughout the series.

    While it will take some time for the team and Barmy Army to comprehend their newfound status as world number one, it will take the Indian supporters back home far less time to question what has gone wrong with their once triumphant side. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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