Trent Bridge, Aug 2: Former England fast bowler Darren Gough must be quite chuffed after the present team from Ole Blighty has mauled India to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 4-match series. He also must be delighted that in so doing, England has pipped the visitors to the globe's No. 1 Test ranking. After all, following England's Ashes triumph in the 2010-2011 series Down Under, he had said, "England can beat India on any day of the week" and sure enough the amateur soothsayer's words have come true.
It seems that Gough had viewed the Ashes as the ultimate litmus test for a team to stake its claim as world-beaters. It didn't matter that Australia were fielding a team that constituted a mere shadow of their invincible precedents, the Ashes were bound to bring out the best in both teams.
After India's insufferable performance in the Lord's Test last week, all the indicators pointed to an inevitable landslide win for England in the series. It didn't seem the tourists had a smidgeon of fighting spirit left in them, a validation of the malaise that came not a moment too soon with India's thumping loss at Trent Bridge.
Even Team England sensed they were not up against much of challenge with middle-order batsman Kevin Pietersen belittling the significance of the ongoing series to the Ashes. After all, England's preparation had been meticulous in anticipation of a series that has turned out to be a damp squib.
Prior to the tour's opening Test, two key English players were returned to the domestic circuit to rediscover form and fine-tune their skills. Fast bowler Stuart Broad played for his home-side of Nottingham, picking up a five-for and opener Andrew Strauss was rendered a taste of the Indian attack in a tour game for Somerset.
India on the other hand were lackadaisical about their readiness and simply assumed that their great batting machinery would come together in time. Assumption is indeed the mother of all screw-ups.