Mahatma Ghandi, Shilpa Shetty, Amitabh Bachchan, My Wife, Father-In-Law, Brother-In-Law and two sisters-in law, your boys took one hell of a beating. As the lone Englishman in a house full of Indians England's wrecking ball demolition of India at Trent Bridge is as sweet a victory as I'm likely to get. Except for when we route them at Edgbaston, record the whitewash at the Oval and then, if I’m really lucky, do them in the one-dayers.
But familial bragging aside, this is as fine an England performance as I can remember, right up there with the sacking of Australia last winter that I risked my marriage over and, essentially, lost five years off my life due to staying up all night to report on it for this publication.
This England side have been great front-runners for the past 18 months, demonstrated nowhere better than at Lords last weekend, but to come back from the first day capitulation, where only Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann's partnership saved them from being bowled out for under 150, was simply brilliant.
They attacked India with violence redolent of the great West Indies today and reduced the best batting line-up in the world to a bunch of village sloggers
When, on saturday, they spoke of keeping it down to under 2.5 runs an over before hoping that wickets would fall quickly upon the arrival of the second new ball, I was worried. Dravid could probably bat for a year if he fancied itl. But that is exactly what they did. Broad has undoubtedly been man of the match, he did it all when it really, really, mattered and then left it to big old Bresnan to show that England now have not one, but two (and possibly three with Swann) genuine all-rounders of international class.
It is right to point out that India are missing Sehwag, Khan and Gambhir, with the former set to return at Edgbaston, but England still outplayed them in all areas. What Andy Flower has done to this team is fired super-glue into every crack. If Strauss fails, Trott steps up, ditto KP, Bell or Morgan. Matt Prior is certainly now the best wicketkeeper-batsman in the world, the way he ripped the last vestiges of a chance away from India yesterday was as good as Gilchrist at his best.
They field better than every other team, including South Africa, in world cricket, bowl as a proper unit no matter who is missing, bat deeper than any other team in recent memory and actually seem to all get on. They attacked India with violence redolent of the great West Indies today and reduced the best batting line-up in the world to a bunch of village sloggers. And, apart from Strauss, are all the right age to go onto truly dominate for the next five years.
Dinner will be sweet tonight. I’ve asked for something English. I’ll probably be force fed Dahl until it runs from my ears.
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