England secure huge victory and number one test status

The England cricket team became the number one ranked test side in the most emphatic fashion, with an innings victory over a humiliated Indian side. Their destructive bowlers again dismantled India’s experienced batsman with nonchalant ease, with James Anderson starring with the ball.

The tourists were deservedly knocked off their perch as the best nation in test cricket, as England’s bowlers were able to get far more movement and bounce than the Indian seamers. This was demonstrated by a magnificent spell from Anderson in the opening hour, accounting for Gambhir, Dravid and Laxman’s wickets.

Anderson’s first ball of the day was the perfect outswinger to the left handed Gambhir, which he edged to Swann at second slip. Dravid’s dismissal ensued that a collapse was imminent, as he was adjudged to have edged behind to Prior. Despite querying with Tendulkar to review the decision, ‘The Wall’ walked, although replays showed that the noise was Dravid’s bat hitting his shoe lace, not his outside edge.

Laxman also succumbed to an unplayable delivery from Anderson, leaving India panicking on 56-4. Tendulkar somehow survived Anderson’s probing deliveries, but looked far from his usual imperious form alongside an equally tentative Suresh Raina. Swann was bowling with turn and bounce, which was the perfect recipe for Raina’s wicket. The offspinner trapped the Chennai batsmen leg before, after he was dropped by Strauss at second slip.

This brought the Indian skipper, MS Dhoni, to the crease, with Indian fans praying for a big partnership with Tendulkar. However, the ‘Little Master’ soon had to trudge back to the pavilion, in highly unfortunate circumstances. Dhoni’s straight drive was tipped onto the stumps by Swann, with Tendulkar’s bat on the line, when the bails were dislodged. The grimace on his face, and the Indian fans in Edgbaston signalled the end of India’s 18 month reign as the best test side.

Swann picked up his second wicket straight after lunch, thanks to an acrobatic catch from Broad at mid-off. This brought the colourful character, Praveen Kumar, to the middle, as he and Dhoni shared another entertaining stand. Kumar hit back to back maximums off Swann, reaching the pair’s fifty partnership in just 28 balls. He was on course for the fastest ever test fifty, but skied a Broad bouncer to depart for 40.

The one positive the Indian side can take from their third heavy defeat of the series, was the return to form of their influential captain. Dhoni continued to score freely, recording successive half centuries, with bludgeoning blows in his innings off 77 not out. He was unable to register a much deserved century, after Broad dismissed Sharma and Bresnan had Sreensanth caught by Pietersen at gully, sparking scenes of ecstasy on and off the field from the England team.

England sealed their ninth consecutive test series victory, and more importantly, became the number one ranked side in test cricket, after another rampant display against the Indians. Great testament must go out to coach Andy Flower, who has transformed England’s fortunes since they capitulated to 51 all out in Jamaica, in 2009. Winning back the Ashes, dominating Australia down under and then India on home soil emphasises the influence and winning mentality Flower has brought to this bunch of talented cricketers.

Flower has already said that he will not be content with remaining the best test side in the world, instead challenging his team to win the World Cup in 2015, something England have not yet achieved in their history. England’s squad remains unchanged for the fourth test at The Oval, with Trott failing to recover from his shoulder injury. Tremlett is fully fit, but is unlilkely to replace the impressive Bresnan, as England aim to record an amazing series whitewash.

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