London, Aug 20: So much for Indian skipper M S Dhoni's optimism, his plan to pursue outright victory in the fourth and final Test was all but quashed by a rampaging England on Day 2 alone. Whatever intent the Indian attack had mustered up on a bright and sunny morning were progressively quelled and annihilated by English top order batsman Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen.
The Indian pace attack has been battered black and blue in the series so far, but nothing had prepared them for the blitzing onslaught that these two willow-wielders managed to dish out. The destructive duo churned out 350 runs between them as Indian heads and shoulders just kept dropping in despair as each landmark rolled by.
In fact, the magnitude of this humongous stand stands atop the list of biggest partnerships this series. What's more, England owns the first five numbers on this chart, after which India registers at 128 runs which were scrimped together by Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh in the second Test.
At the end of the day of the present Test, the Indian bowlers had conceded a grand total of 382 runs in 90 overs at a run-rate of nearly 4 an over. It is the ultimate blitzkrieg that India has faced in perhaps decades and one which the visitors will take a long time to recover from.
With England sitting at a regal 457/3, the carnage is only likely to continue unabated unless the Indian pace trio can pull out something extraordinary while a struggling leg-spinner in Amit Mishra bowls with the sort of guile he has been sorely lacking. Yet India' guts and gumption at this stage seem unlikely to deter England from going past 710/7, their present highest total in the series.
Then India will be faced with the overwhelming and arduous task of getting their stodgy batsmen to bail them out, a phenomenon which is yet to occur in this series, given that India's highest innings total thus far is 288!