England now holds this slot, mathematically, as even if India wins the last of this series of 4 test matches, they now cannot catch up. And, on the strength of what we have seen in the first three tests, and especially in the third one that finished yesterday one day ahead of schedule, India do not look in good shape at the moment. Many of their top batsmen have failed to deliver the goods at the right time, their bowlers have mostly looked average, and their fielding has not been top class. No team can win at the top level with such failures. England have looked much better in all the above departments: batting well all down the order, bowling with agression and discipline and fielding well.
From this 3rd test match, the man of the match has to be the English opener, Alastair Cook (above), whose innings of 294 put England in a virtually impregnable position. But the bowling, from the likes of Broad (photo below, getting the Indian opener Sehwag caught for nothing), Anderson and Bresnan equally won the game for England by a massive margin of an innings and 242 runs. It has been an all-round performance on the part of the English team, following on last winter's Ashes victory over Australia in Australia.
This has been India's second largest defeat ever in test cricket, and they will neeed to ask themsleves a few questions to come back from this, as all great teams do. They have won or drawn the last 12 test match series they have played, and, although this defeat was away from home, it will not ride easily. But India have some great players, and Sachin Tendulkar may yet make his 100th test match century in the last game at the Oval. He looked to be playing well today, until he got himself run-out through backing-up too generously when on 40.
photo by Getty images
The English team will make the most of their celebrations, as they had set themselves this goal (of becoming number 1) and they have worked hard and played well to earn it. Team work, as much as many strong individual performances from a large number of players, have made this possible.