Eng crush India in 3rd Test, snatch No.1 Test spot
India's reputation as a good Test nation lay in tatters at the end of the third Test at Edgbaston. England completed an innings and 242 runs win to snatch the No. 1 ranking. Sanjjeev K Samyal reports. The dreaded numbers | Simply outplayed
India's reputation as a good Test nation lay in tatters at the end of the third Test at Edgbaston. A rampaging England completed an innings and 242 runs win on the fourth day to snatch the No 1 ranking.
The abject surrender will count as India's worst-ever defeat in recent times. In terms of the margin of defeat, it is close to the 0-3 loss in Australia in 1999, but in terms of humiliation, it's much worse. India had gone to Australia as absolute underdogs. In fact, the then board secretary had predicted the margin. Here India had come as the No 1 side; they had won the last series they played here and shared the spoils before that.
India have not won a single day's game in the series. Every time they were on top, they have allowed England to regain control. The hosts fully deserve the mantle of the best team in world cricket.
Starting the day at 35 for one, it was the same old story for India with their batsmen all at sea against the swinging ball. It said it all that in both the innings, India's total was less than that of England's top-scorer, Alastair Cook, who won the man of the match award for his 294. India bettered their first innings effort of 224 by a measly 20 runs. Skipper MS Dhoni was again the top-scorer, with another defiant 74 not out off 77 balls.
India's hopes of a miraculous fightback were extinguished by James Anderson in the first 45 minutes. The England spearhead claimed Gautam Gambhir's wicket with his first ball and quickly followed up with the wickets of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman to leave India reeling at 56 for four off 21.3 overs. At that point, Anderson had taken all the four wickets to fall, having dismissed Virender Sehwag first ball on Friday evening.
DISTRACTED BATSMENNothing went right for India as was reflected in the dismissals of Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. Anderson pulled Dravid forward with an away swinger and there was a big noise as the ball went passed the bat. The England bowler and fielders went up in a huge appeal and umpire Simon Taufel immediately raised his finger. Dravid's body language was one of surprise. The replays showed the noise could have been the bat hitting the edge of his long shoe lace. What was difficult to understand was Dravid's hesitancy to go for the review. He's the team's inform batsman, their most important player in the situation. Tendulkar was run-out while backing up at the non-striker's end. Dhoni's drive ricocheted into the stumps off the bowler Swann's fingers. He was the only Indian batsman who looked comfortable at the wicket.
The most impressive of England's bowling performance has been their planning of each dismissal. Every batsman's game was worked out and the line of attack was well thought out. Andrew Strauss started the day with Swann against Gambhir. But when the opener was out in the second over of the day, Swann was taken off. Tendulkar was the next man in and given that he has been a touch tentative against the pacers, the fast bowlers were on from both sides. Swann was off and Stuart Broad was put on immediately.
Although Dhoni held firm, it was just a matter of England wrapping it up in the end.