Bangalore, Aug 13: In two days India celebrates its 64th anniversary of Independence from British rule. But as the just-concluded third Test between the two sides suggests, England is still the masters and India quite simply, under their thumb. The sport of the erstwhile empire - cricket - has reaffirmed the colonial masters as being on top of their game as they ground a disoriented, disunited and demoralised Indian side to dust.
The English Summer of 2011 could well be the Winter of India's discontent. To quote a trite adage, the former No. 1 Test nation in the world went from "Hero to Zero". Apparently Nero was asleep while Rome burned... or in this case, Edgbaston. In a series that was touted to be the Battle for No. 1 and which was inflated with all the hype that such a contest would entail, the end result was possibly the most ridiculous anti-climax ever witnessed in a Test arena.
After three successive tumultuous Tests for India, hosts England have without a doubt, succeeded in bringing the visitors to their knees, while simultaneously assuming their place as the new Numero Uno Test side in the World. And as the results of this high-profile face-off showed,India's losses became progressively more emphatic with each Test - England winning the first one by 196 runs, the second by 319, and the third by an innings and 242 runs.
The Indian batting line-up was an utter travesty with the big names making a downright mockery of their credentials. To begin with India managed just two large partnerships in 6 innings, those being Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman's 93 for the 2nd wicket at Nottingham and M S Dhoni's 84 with Praveen Kumar for the 8th wicket at Edgbaston. England meanwhile, managed to put together no less than half a dozen 100-plus run stands with a high of 222 between Alastair Cook and Eoin Morgan at Edgbaston.
Then, just three Indian batsmen figured in the top-ten individual run-getters' chart, those being Dravid at No. 3 (average: 45.27), Sachin Tendulkar at 9 (average 26.50) and VVS Laxman at 10(average 26.00). Perhaps the most unsettling comparison is the highest innings team total -India being 288 while England's was 710/7 (declared)!
As far as the bowling goes, England's Stuart Broad leads the wicket tally with 19 scalps. India's Praveen Kumar is two places behind with 15, but his average is 29.53 in contrast to Broads' 12.73! The Indian attack has bowled a total of 567 overs against the English in this series, picking up 40 wickets at a mind-bogglingly poor average of 85.05! Meanwhile, England picked up 66 scalps at an average of 38.02!
The figures go on and on to show the disparity in the quality of cricket that these two sides have come up with. The bottom-line naturally says that England have made India grovel while they , the hosts, are sitting on top of the globe. The World Order in Test Cricket has changed. Long live the new king!