Nobody, not even Andrew Strauss would have imagined in his wildest dreams that England would rout India so convincingly. After winning 3 out of 3 test matches of the 4 match test series, with the track record of every next victory being greater than the previous one, England have risen to become the best Test-playing country. England’s 3rd match victory by an innings and 242 runs was India’s third worst defeat in their history. India’s worst defeat in Test cricket came against West in 1958 when it was defeated by an innings and 336 runs.
Only, twelve years ago, England were ranked the worst Test-playing country following defeat by New Zealand in 1999 and people thought the gentleman’s game no more belonged to the English.
What a tragedy for the current India coach Duncan Fletcher who is given the credit of England’s rebuilding from their nadir test rankings to being the World’s No. 2 Test side that regained the Ashes in 2005.
The sportsman attitude
Indian captain MS Dhoni in his post-match interview said that the margin of defeat doesn’t matter – that losing is losing. wondered if if the way you lose doesn’t matter. It wrote, “An Indian cricket fan wouldn’t mind to see their team losing, provided they fought till the end – provided it wasn’t as humiliating as this loss – provided they showed the will to win.” It further said, “Ever since India decided they didn’t want to attempt chasing 180 against the West Indies just over a month ago, they haven’t looked like that team.”
Everyone believed that as world’s top test playing side, it showed lack of motivation to not to chase a target of 86 runs in 15 overs when you have 7 wicket in hand. What for you are world No. 1 if you can’t even persist with odds in your favour?
Compare that to Andrew Strauss who insisted that while topping the rankings for the first time under their current guise was an achievement to be proud of it was not the team’s prime motivation.
“I think long term you’re not looking so much at ranking as playing good cricket.”
“But we stated we wanted to get to number one. It was a lofty ambition and it’s great we’ve achieved it.
And England’s elevation to No. 1 status drew well deserved acclaim from the ICC chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, who said: “They were clearly the most consistent side in the world over the past few years as evidenced by their 19 out of 30 Test wins and only four losses.”
India slip in ODI Rankings
ODI Cricket World champions India slipped to third place in the ICC ODI team rankings earlier this month. In the past 12 months, India has lost nine ODIs and has a win-loss ratio that is poorer than World Cup finalists Sri Lanka and quarterfinalists Australia and South Africa.
While in 2008-09 rating year India won 17 ODIs and lost only five games, in the past 12 months India has lost nine ODIs, including its last two against eighth ranked West Indies and one in the group stages of the World Cup. The World Champions have a win-loss ratio that is poorer than World Cup finalists Sri Lanka and quarterfinalists Australia and South Africa.
The vital 4th Test
The last Test match of the four match Test Series will be vital for India. While England will be the top Test side when the Test Championship table will be updated at the end of the series, India’s position will depend on the result of The Oval Test, which starts next Thursday.
reported, “If England wins The Oval Test, it will finish on 125 ratings points while India will drop to third on 117 ratings points. However, if India wins or draws the Test, it will stay ahead of South Africa in second position. A win will allow India to finish on 120 ratings points while a drawn Test will mean it will finish on 119 ratings points.”
Will India be able to make its fall from grace less painful?