India lost the Oval Test by an Innings and eight runs on 22/8/2011 and with that lost four Tests in succession after many years. It was in Oval in 1971 India had bundled out England for 101 in the second Innings and won a Test and series in England for the first time. Last time India lost all four Tests in a series was in 1967-68 in Australia. India, who were No. 1 in Tests before the series began, now rank No. 3 in Tests. How the mighty have fallen!
Rudra Pratap Singh who was not in the reserves and who had not played a Test for two years got a chance to play in the Test at the cost of Munaf Patel who was in the reserves and had played in West Indies. India’s poor bowling was made worse by poor fielding. Gautam Gambhir dropped a catch and got injured. Rahul Dravid carried the bat in the first Innings and in the process surpassed Sunil Gavaskar’s 34 centuries and became the third Indian to carry the bat after Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag. He was out to a dubious decision under UDRS in the second Innings. If Hot Spot cannot be conclusive the money spent on it is a waste.
For the first time in the series India scored 300 in the first Innings. Too bad they could not repeat it in the second Innings. England had 291 runs lead and enforced follow-on unlike India in 2007 who did not enforce follow-on in spite of having 312 runs lead.
English players were generous to Sachin Tendulkar and dropped catches so that he may score a century but he was LBW on 91. Suresh Raina scored a pair. Amit Misra scored 43 in the first Innings and 84 in the second Innings and compensated for his failure in bowling.
The series was plagued with injuries. Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Virender Sehwag and Ishant Sharma suffered.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni seems secure as captain because many players who could have replaced him are injured. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid are ex-captains. If V. V. S. Laxman had hit a century he could have been a contender.
The series began with euphoria and ended in despondency. There is ODI series ahead to be followed by a T20 match. Expectations are low and there will be no surprise if India lose all matches.