Does whitewash even cover…

…this series thumping.

Has there ever been a team to come to these shores and be on the end of such a shellacking in a test match series? Certainly not one that claimed to be the number one.

While England took that number one ranking spot it’s gonna be a lot harder to keep it than this last hurdle to get it. Facing down the possibility of being one of the very few teams that England have whitewashed in a series greater three matches, India just never showed much interest in saving any face. Even England at their lowest ebb used to drag out one performance at the end of a thumping.

OK in patches some of them showed some fight, one of them showed great fight throughout. Darvid was the only one, 461 runs, three tons, when in 8 innings India reached 300 only once and never passed that total. In patches Sharma bowled well, Kumar showed some fight as did Mishra with his batting and Raina ran round the field on occasions but that was their lot.

Tendulkar didn’t get his 100th international hundred. Did he deserve it? No place for sentiment. Would it have meant much anyway coming in such a situation, either keeping it to a 3-0 scoreline or just delaying the inevitable slide to the eventual 4-0.

Two innings defeats and two big runs defeats was about all they deserved.

No doubt they’ll do us in the One Day series and go home happy. But then I said that about another pretty damn poor side earlier this year and that didn’t quite go to plan.

Well the seventh and last test of the summer it was about time Swann came to the party. With his nine wickets he picked the right time to show he’s still got it. Did it go away or was it taken from him? Earlier on he barely got a chance with the pace attack skittling the opposition on unfriendly pitches for spin. Added to that the lack of Hawkeye for the DRS, it’s helped him in the past, got a lot of wickets by LBW. Wickets that aren’t as readily there when the system isn’t available, as umpires are reluctant still to give someone out padding up well outside off without having that backup for their own judgement. The thing is if Swann does appeal chances are they wouldn’t look the fool putting the finger up. He knows. It’s not like Monty claiming for absolutely everything. When Swann is sure it’s out he goes for the appeal, when it’s close he holds back a bit and stifles it.

So without the technology the Indian batsmen took to the spinner, as they should though they are brought up on it, and he was carted around a few grounds with little reward, only 4 wickets at plenty before this game. Only Anderson has gone for more runs, though from 20 more overs. But good to see him come back and when the pitch was suited to him use it as he should.

Broad was the only choice as man of the series. Being dropped from the last one dayer against Sri Lanka, after his ineffectual start to the year as the Enforcer, coming back knowing what type of bowler he wanted to be, i.e. the one he’s good at. Pitch it up, bit of movement bit of bounce from a good length, and what happens? Top wicket taker, with 25 at less than 14 apiece. No surprise that with more confident wicket taking bowling the batting came back as well with an average of 66 with only one not out. Good series.

All the eulogising for Bell, as stated here many times before – what do you mean ad nauseum – easy runs really don’t count. While Dravid was batting guys at their peak, Bell’s milking rubbish for stats padding. 235, can’t totally be discounted he did it while others didn’t but through all the hyperbole that he and others were coming out with – Sir Geoffrey, I am surprised – Michael Vaughan made one statement that summed it up during the partnership with Pietersen Ian Bell, he’s having a net. That’s the level we’re talking about here and there ain’t many count their net runs. Yes he got the first ton of the innings but it was KP that injected the impetus in the innings, made it even easier for him.

After one phrase summed it up one moment did it even more, when Bopara came on to bowl. No the jury is still out on Bopara with the bat, it came back a long time ago with regards to his bowling. In fact I don’t know if they bothered retiring before giving the verdict. He is no one’s idea of a test bowler, certainly not someone you’d open the bowling with. He’s one of those players you bring on when everything else ain’t working in the hope a change might just fluke a wicket, with batsmen dropping their concentration. Except for the fact he doesn’t, not at this level one wicket at 212 is not quite the golden arm. Yet when he came on he was faster than than the Indian strike bowlers. And while he only bowled five overs if he had taken a wicket it wouldn’t have been at the 50 plus average of the three main bowlers here at the Oval.

Big Bres, still unbeaten, 10 tests now and best moment of the series by far getting Dravid with that peach of a delivery in the first innings of the third test at Edgbaston. Pitching off, hitting off against the stand-out Indian batsmen. Dravid looked shocked at the time, I think it was still on his mind when he dropped a couple of catches later.

So if Strauss can get some form by the time he plays international cricket again in what four and half months time and maybe be just that more off the cuff and less by the numbers with the captaincy. Such as not sending in a night watchman when there’s a huge total on the board and the bowlers are flagging or spreading the field so quickly when the opposition is finding some boundaries with some three hundred to go before avoiding the follow on or an innings defeat.

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