More games of patience will be needed to stay on top of the mountain

 

The Oval

There is nothing quite like blasting the opposition into submission with more than a day to spare – and England have done a fair bit of that on their journey to the top of the Test mountain. But patience can be a useful tool to have in the kitbag, too.

Most things have gone the way of Andrew Strauss and his team since they put a 1-0 defeat in the Caribbean behind them and embarked on a sequence of success that now stands at nine series unbeaten (eight wins and a draw) with power to add.

Many of their victories in the last year have been straightforward, ultimately at any rate, with Australia losing by an innings on three occasions last winter, Sri Lanka being blown away in not much more than the blink of an eye at the start of this summer and India succumbing all too easily – especially at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston.

Yesterday, though, England had to dig deep, overcome misfortune and mishap, and show everyone just how much it meant to them to finish a fabulous summer on a triumphant note.

Thanks to a rat-a-tat-tat burst from Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad, Strauss's men eventually won by an innings again with plenty of time in hand to complete a first 4-0 Test series whitewash since West Indies were routed in 2004.

For all of the morning session and much of the afternoon, though, England had to graft: to keep believing that, despite dropped catches, desperately tight lbw decisions and the apparent (if mistaken) certainty that Sachin Tendulkar would register his 100th international century, everything would come right in the end.

There were times when they seemed close to accepting that, for once, they would not be able to find a way through – most obviously when, in the same over, Swann had Tendulkar dropped by Matt Prior and then saw a leg-before verdict go against him.

The spinner, who has kept away from centre stage for most of this summer because of the excellence of England's seam and swing bowlers, took his cap from umpire Simon Taufel and looked towards the home dressing room with hands spread wide.

This was the moment, surely, when India and their many fans inside The Oval must have thought frustration was about to get the better of their opponents – just as it did, in fact, a year ago when Pakistan were the visitors.

England were having things pretty much their own way in that series as well and became decidedly grouchy when Test debutant Zulqarnain Haider had the nerve to hold them up for a few hours at Edgbaston with a battling 88.

It was rather like Amit Mishra's act of defiance yesterday, in fact. But whereas Haider suffered a painful blow on his hand after a petulant and totally unnecessary throw from Broad, Mishra was subjected to nothing more damaging than a bit of backchat.

Instead, England concentrated their efforts on trying to complete the task they had set themselves. "This is a good test for them," remarked Shane Warne during a commentary stint on Sky TV. "The challenge for them is to keep their standards up."

And to be very patient. As Rahul Dravid pointed out on Sunday evening, England's biggest challenge now as the world's No 1 Test team is to win series on the subcontinent – and in India, in particular.

It is there, when the fast bowlers are searching in vain for seam and swing, that these players will have to keep plugging away, hoping to prise an opening before piling in.

England did it to perfection yesterday and deserve all the accolades that are coming their way. And, as they showed, there is more than one way to stay on top.

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003