23 Aug 2011

England 4, India 0: the new number one team convince

The last of the current series of four test matches between England and India, played in England, has just finished with another resounding victory for the English team, who won this game by over an innings. In fact all these 4 matches have been won by confortable margins, and 2 of them with the English side just batting once.

India had hitherto been the world's number one side and I had predicted at the beginning of the series that it would not be easy for Englad to wrest this title from them. In fact they made it seem not easy, but very convincing, defeating India in every department of the game and creating what is sometimes called a whitewash, as India neither won nor drew a single game.

The other question mark placed before the series was whether the great Indian batsman, Tendulkar, would make 100 runs for the 100th time in international cricket. He very nearly did, reaching a somewhat chancy 91 in the last innings of this 4th test. But this is fairly insignificant in my opinion. He has already scored far many more centuries than any other player in cricket history, so what is another? Tendulkar can be a geius with the bat, but by far the best Indian batsman on this series was Rahul Dravid, who deservedly won the man of the series award on the Indian side.

For England, the man of the series was the fast bowler (and good batsman) Stuart Broad.

His performance, as that of all his fellow team members, was consistently good, both technically, physically and mentally,maintaning constant intensity and the necessary agression that makes one come out on top of top sports competitions. Ot would be hard to single out a single great performance by one player, as there were many. Teamwork and team spirit were very much the name of the game, and for that, the captain, Andrew Strauss deserves much credit.

The most spectacular of the English batsmen was probably Pieterson, who twice scored heavily, although the last innings of Bell, and the long one by Cook, were also extremely impressive.

Alongside the England team, India seemed at times to be almost lackadaisical on the field, lacking in the above qualities, with the notable exception of Dravid and one or two others. They looked tired in fact. But they are a great team and will no doubt come back to the very top level soon.

The official test cricket ratings now place England 1, South Africa 2, India 3, Australia 4 and Sri Lanka 5, at the top end of the list of the major international nations that also includes Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand and Bangladesh. For those not familiar with this great game of cricket, test cricket is the true game, in which international matches last 5 days (when rain doesn't interfere with play). There also are shorter, more spectacular forms of the game which last for just a day or less, and I spoke of one of these recently, when India won the World Cup for the ODI championship earlier this year.