Planning key to series win, says Broad

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The Independent Online

All-rounder Stuart Broad felt England's pre-series planning was key to their whitewash of India.

Andrew Strauss' side wrapped up a 4-0 win at The Oval today with an innings and eight-run victory, putting the gloss on their rise to the top of the ICC world rankings.

Broad was nominated as the hosts' best player by the India camp and the Nottinghamshire man believes the England attack was simply putting into practice the preparations set out by Strauss and coach Andy Flower.

He said: "We have worked well together, (Graeme) Swann has bowled very well on this wicket and we have all bowled to a plan throughout the series. It has been very rewarding.

"They have a powerful batting line-up but we set pretty clear plans at the start of the series on how we wanted to bowl - slightly fuller lengths with the odd bouncer and the wickets we have played on have allowed that.

"The plans have worked and we are delighted with the results."

Strauss was delighted that England could cap a wonderful summer with another emphatic success.

He said: "It was an outstanding effort again, enforcing the follow-on asked a lot of the bowlers and they responded superbly.

"It was Swann's turn to take wickets today but he was well supported by the seamers.

"The 200 that Ian Bell scored was certainly the best innings I've seen him play and set up this win for us."

Sachin Tendulkar and Amit Mishra dug in to frustrate England either side of lunch before Swann, who claimed six for 106, made the breakthrough before running through the tail.

Strauss added: "We still knew there was a lot of time left. The last 40 overs before the new ball were quite hard work, Tendulkar and Mishra played pretty well but there were a few half-chances."

Bell's 235 was pivotal to England making a mammoth 591 for six and the Warwickshire batsman relished in the opportunity to move up to number three in the absence of the injured Jonathan Trott.

Bell said: "I really enjoyed the opportunity to step up and have a go but we have a really good squad and that's been our strength for a long time.

"I am still desperate to improve, like the rest of the guys, we are all looking to improve."

Coach Andy Flower likened the post-match celebrations to those following his side's Ashes victory two years ago, and said: "These are brilliant moments.

"We like listening to (Jerusalem) before each day's play and to have it while they're doing a lap of honour is very special.

"It reminds me of the Ashes in 2009, there's a similar atmosphere. It was maybe a bit of an anti-climax because we were 3-0 up but it's a great moment for them.

"The Ashes are special for their own reasons, and for the importance the English public and the Australian public give to it, but it's also something special to be playing India."

On the work which has gone into his side's ascent to the pinnacle of the Test rankings, Flower added: "The players have worked extraordinarily hard to get their skills and their conditioning up, and they walk over that boundary rope and make good decisions under pressure.

"Also really good leadership from Strauss, you see that in all facets, and really good work by Graham Gooch and some of our support staff, you can see that in some big first-innings scores and the fielding standards."

India's outstanding performer throughout the series was Rahul Dravid, who made a first-innings 146 here.

He admitted the tourists had been comprehensively outplayed over the four games.

"England are deservedly the number one in the world, they played well in the series, they outplayed us.

"We expected a tough series as we know they have played some great cricket over the past two and a half years but we thought we would play a bit better."

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni added: "We tried out best and that's what's important.

"At times you can be outplayed at the top level and that was, more often than not, the case in this series.

"They always put a good score on the board and we weren't able to make over 300 in any of the four matches."

As for the future, he added: "It's important we stay together as a unit because the expectation levels are quite high. It's about the team rising to the occasion together.

"That's the way ahead. We are not willing to surrender and we hope the coming years will be good."