England top of the world – but aiming higher

Swann spins superb England to series whitewash over India but Strauss still not satisfied

The Oval

It's official – and now they have a trophy to go with their title. But England had no sooner taken possession of the International Cricket Council Mace as the world's No 1 Test team than captain Andrew Strauss started talking about aiming even higher.

An innings and eight run victory over India at The Oval yesterday not only completed a 4-0 series whitewash but also gave Strauss's side a little more breathing space ahead of second-placed South Africa.

A capacity crowd of around 23,500 saw Graeme Swann spin England to their latest success before tea, and most spectators remained inside the ground to witness Strauss being presented with the ICC symbol of success after leading his men on a lap of honour.

"It is fantastic to receive that mace and be No 1 in the world," said Strauss, who has led England to eight series victories since becoming full-time Test captain. "But we are all very conscious that it can be taken away from us very quickly. We are going to be judged by higher standards now and we need to keep pushing ourselves to improve and get better."

England do not play another Test series for five months. Then the contests come thick and fast with Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates followed by Sri Lanka away, West Indies and South Africa at home and, before Christmas next year, India away.

"The nature of international cricket is that you are always looking forward to the next challenge," said Strauss. "Rightly we should celebrate that we have had a fantastic Test match summer. We've had plenty of questions asked of us and we have answered them, but we have to start looking towards the winter.

"We have some very stern challenges ahead in the subcontinent, and that is an area of the world we still need to improve in. Winning away from home is always more difficult. And then it is about maintaining performance and being consistent."

Given the way England have played over the past 18 months, what could possibly go wrong? "The greatest pitfall is the feeling that you've done it all and therefore you are not willing to put in the hard work to continue it," suggested Strauss. "But I would be very disappointed if our side fell into that trap and it's certainly not what we are about as a unit. If there are signs of it then it's important we nip it in the bud."

For now, though, no one can begrudge England a party. "I might have a hangover in the morning," admitted Strauss. As for India, any headaches today will be caused by their latest capitulation. Having looked on course to draw the final Test, they lost their last seven wickets for 21 runs.

A few months ago, MS Dhoni led India to World Cup glory. Now he has become only the third captain to be whitewashed by England in a series of more than three Tests. Yet he insisted last night: "I am very satisfied with the amount of effort the boys put in."

Dhoni did accept, though, that his team should have been able to bat out for a draw yesterday. And they might have done, but for England's determination to finish on a high note.

"There might have been a temptation to take the foot off the gas, having won the series," said Strauss. "But I'm very proud of the way the guys have reacted this week with some outstanding performances.

"We were very motivated at the thought of making it 4-0 but we had to dig deep to do it and that is what I'm most proud about – the guys did it when we didn't really have to. I think that bodes well for the future."

Stats magic: the numbers that matter from the final day

56 Scarcely believable but Sachin Tendulkar's highest score in the series, before yesterday, was 56 – made in the second Test at Trent Bridge.



6 Even with a spinner on, only six overs were bowled in the first 30 minutes yesterday as two lengthy delays were allowed with Jimmy Anderson fitting an ankle support and Amit Mishra receiving treatment for taking a blow – on the pad.



1 Until yesterday morning, India had not batted through a session in the series without losing a wicket.



84 Amit Mishra beat his previous Test best of 50 but could not get beyond his highest first-class score – also 84, and made for Haryana.



1959 England last beat India in a Test at The Oval in 1959. Before yesterday's result, there had been five draws and an away win.



9 As well as scoring 51 Test centuries, Tendulkar has also reached the 90s on nine occasions, although the look on his face yesterday suggested, in his opinion, that last figure should still read eight.



79 From the moment England took their first wicket of the day, Amit Mishra, it took 79 minutes and 94 balls to take the next six and win the match.



34 In a sweeping finale to a series in which he had been prominent for his lack of prominence, Graeme Swann took 4-7 in 34 balls.



8 Of their last 17 Test matches from the second against Bangladesh last year, England have won eight by an innings.

How the action on the final day unfolded

10.59: Start 129-3

All eyes are on Tendulkar: can he secure his 100th 100? England fans might not begrudge him doing so, so long as he doesn't stick around too long after.

11.26: Milestone 150-3

Tendulkar reaches fifty by cutting a wide delivery from Anderson to deep point and jogging through for a run. Loud cheers greet the single as India bring up their 150.

12.40: Landmark 200-3

Mishra brings up India's 200 by flicking an inswinger from Bresnan down to long leg for a single. India are battling hard to save this Test match.

12.50: Drop 204-3

What a chance! Swann finds the rough and Tendulkar bat-pads a sharp catch to Cook at short leg. But Cook can't hold on as the ball cannons hard into his chest.

12.58: Fifty 209-3

Mishra taps a short delivery down to backward square leg off the back foot, returning for two runs to reach his fifty. An impressive knock from the nightwatchman.

12.59: Lunch 216-3

A good morning session for India as Mishra and Tendulkar graft well. India are now just 75 runs behind England. A bit of luck for Sachin; could it be his day?

14.07: Not out 237-3

Huge lbw appeal from England as Tendulkar is trapped in front attempting a sweep. Taufel says no but it would have been out with the DRS review system.

14.11: Drop 249-3

Tendulkar is dropped behind the stumps by Prior as he outside-edges an attempted cut-shot. A tough chance but how many more lives will Tendulkar get!?

14.12: Not out 249-3

Tendulkar survives another strong lbw appeal as he offers no shot and the ball raps his pads. Taufel says no. An action packed few minutes leaves Swann fuming.

14.14: Milestone 252-3

Mishra runs the ball off the face of the bat and wide of the slip cordon for three runs off Pietersen. That well-timed shot brings up 250 for India.

14.18: Wicket 262-4

Mishra goes for 84 as he plays inside the line to Swann and has his off-stump knocked back. That partnership of 144 was India's highest this series.

14.24: Wicket 262-5

Tendulkar is out for 91! Sachin is struck on the pads by Bresnan and umpire Tucker makes a brave call: replays show the ball was just clipping leg-stump.

14.37: Wicket 266-6

England strike again. Raina is harshly given out lbw as he inside-edges a Swann delivery on to his pads. That's a pair for Raina. England are buoyant.

14.59: Wicket 269-7

Dhoni goes for just three as he edges Broad to Swann at second slip. The Indian captain's feet were nowhere near the pitch of the delivery; it was a wild heave-ho.

15.03: Wicket 269-8

R P Singh goes for a duck as he edges Broad straight behind to Prior. That's five wickets for seven runs now. India have fallen apart and they still trail by 22 runs.

15.21: Not out 274-8

Swann thinks he has his five-for as Sharma is given out after seemingly bat-padding to silly point. But Sharma reviews, wisely, and the decision is overturned.

15.26: Wicket 275-9

Swann has five. Gambhir is out for three, flaying at a wider delivery and slicing the ball to Morgan at backward point. India need 16 to avoid an innings defeat.

15.36 Wicket 283 all out

Sreesanth tries to slog Swann, but misses completely and middle stump disappears. 4-0 whitewash: England have laid down a real marker to world cricket.

News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker