It's time to mourn after 4-0 whitewash
By: Clayton Murzello
Instead of celebrating 40 years of India's greatest Test triumph in England this month, it is time to mourn after 0-4 whitewash|
India should have been celebrating 40 years of their greatest Test triumph in England this month -- the 1971 series win over Ray Illingworth's Ashes-winning champion team. It was achieved at the Oval on August 24.
Instead, in many ways, it is a time to mourn. Yesterday, the same ground witnessed probably India's nadir in Test match cricket, a format Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men were No 1 in before the series kicked off at Lord's a month ago.
The Lord's defeat was disappointing, but there was hope for Trent Bridge where India won in 2007. But a heavy loss was experienced there too. New zeal was expected in Edgbaston, but the defeat margin got heavier. And when it came to the Oval, India were expected to do far better on a surface that suited them traditionally. The optimists were proved wrong again as India succumbed by an innings and eight runs yesterday.
Sachin Tendulkar walks back after being dismissed for 91 by England's
Tim Bresnan on the final day of the Oval Test yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
There were not too many believers (and who can blame them) in India at the start of the day, but Sachin Tendulkar and Amit Mishra batted splendidly to go into lunch at 216 for three. But the second session of the final day proved fatal as India could score only 67 runs more before England rejoiced at their 4-0 win.
Sure, there were a couple of questionable umpiring decisions and English brilliance came to the fore once again, but the fact that seven wickets fell for just 21 runs proved that Dhoni's men didn't have the bottle for the fight.
Amit Mishra ended up smelling like a rose (84 off 141 balls), Tendulkar (91 off 172 balls) despite two lives, scrapped all the way and Dravid was exceptional in the truest sense of the term. The rest of the batters need to go shopping for a mirror to take a good look at themselves and they don't have to visit the fashionable Oxford Street for that.
Thanks to old television footage, even young fans have had the opportunity to watch how the 1971 team fought for their Ajit Wadekar-led Oval win ¦ Chandrasekhar, Sardesai and Solkar, who stood precariously close to the batsmen -- unafraid and unaffected of the dangers. Dhoni's men paled in comparison 40 years later.
Sure, there were injuries, which crippled the side physically and in spirit. Poor form cannot be arrested in the face of high quality opposition, but India will always be guilty of not respecting this series enough. India vs England was a big-ticket event that ended up being a terrible mismatch. The rematch could be a different story next year in India, but Indian cricket has a lot of ground to cover.