Suddenly England's recent performance in South Africa, where they won the one-day and drew the Test series, does not look too bad.
The Proteas crushed India yesterday to take the first Test and win the first battle in the war to become the best Test side in the world. The fact that they did it by an innings and six runs with a day to spare, in India's backyard and having had their coach, Mickey Arthur, just walk out on them after a row about quotas, made it all the more impressive.
It was India's first defeat on home soil for almost two years and they now cannot win the two-Test series, the second of which starts on Sunday in Kolkata. Should the South Africans avoid defeat they will reclaim the No1 world ranking they recently let slip.
The star of their show was the world's premier paceman, who had such fun with England's batsmen during their recent tour, Dale Steyn. He finished the match with figures of 10 for 108 (7 for 51 in the first innings) as India were bowled out second time around for 319.
South Africa's captain Graeme Smith called it an "outstanding performance. Four days of clinical stuff. To win here requires a lot of discipline and hard work and the guys showed a lot of consistency. There were some great performances. Jacques [Kallis] and Hashim [Amla, who hit big centuries] and Dale with the ball, but it was a great team effort. It's been a pretty tough, emotional two weeks with all the changes, but credit should go to the players for their maturity."
India lost 20 wickets for 552 runs in the match, South Africa six for 558: a more devastating beating is hard to imagine. The only Indian resistance came from – who else? – Sachin Tendulkar, who hit his 46th Test ton. He was undone by South Africa's spinner Paul Harris, who took a leaf out of Ashley Giles' book of spin, by adopting a defensive leg-side line and bowling him round his legs. Harris then picked up Mahendra Singh Dhoni and finished with 3 for 76 from 38 overs.
Ponting hits fifty as Aussies crush woeful West Indies again
Australia cruised to another comfortable one-day international win over a West Indies side looking increasingly out of their depth yesterday. The hosts now lead 2-0 following an eight-wicket win in Adelaide with three matches remaining. Set a paltry 171 for victory, Australia cantered to victory in the 27th over with captain Ricky Ponting (57 not out off 55 balls) and his deputy Michael Clarke (27 not out off 28) leading the side home. A belligerent 53 off 50 balls from opener Shane Watson ensured the run chase was never in doubt. Doug Bollinger was named man of the match for his four wickets earlier in the day.Reuse content