We expect to win now, says Strauss, after Swann stars in innings victory to cap series whitewash
ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss attributed his side’s rise to No1 in the world to a collective feeling of invincibility after they completed a 4-0 series whitewash over India.
Spinner Graeme Swann led the attack with four wickets yesterday as England won the fourth Test at The Oval by an innings and eight runs.
Victory secured England’s first whitewash over India since 1974 and completed a memorable series in which they usurped the visitors as the top-ranked Test side in the world.
England have now won six series in a row and are undefeated in their last nine – and Strauss admits they feel success is almost inevitable when they take to the pitch.
He said: “We have had a lot of victories over the last couple of years and that means our confidence is high and we expect to win most matches now.”
Swann took nine wickets over the whole Test, while Ian Bell was named man of the match for his first-innings knock of 235, but Strauss was keen to stress that England’s dominance of the series had been down to every player in the squad making key contributions at different times.
He added: “I think that it is a measure of the side that you are getting really strong performances from all 11 players. If you want to win a series 4-0 then you can’t just rely on one or two players. The wickets have been shared around, the runs have been shared around and this is up there with the best series we have played.”
England completed the memorable 4-0 thanks to the bowling of Swann. The off-spinner had struggled this summer on largely seamer-friendly wickets, but found the Oval pitch more to his liking and ended with figures of 6-106 as India were bowled out for 283.
England did not have it all their own way, however. They toiled in the field in the morning session and Sachin Tendulkar and Amit Mishra added 87 runs without losing a wicket before lunch.But Swann found the breakthrough bowling Mishra for 84, and the next over Tim Bresnan trapped Tendulkar LBW for 91 – leaving the Little Master a tantalising nine runs short of completing his 100th test hundred.
India then collapsed and added just 21 runs before they were bowled out, Swann fittingly taking the final wicket of Sreesanth to confirm England’s whitewash.
India’s capitulation on tour sees them drop from No1 in the world down to No3 with South Africa now behind England.
Strauss added: “It was an outstanding effort again, we asked a lot of the bowlers and they responded superbly.”