Swann: Nullifying Tendulkar and Co beats No1 ranking

SPINNER Graeme Swann insists England’s consistency in nullifying India’s stellar batting line-up is their greatest achievement in a series they will look to round off in winning style tomorrow at The Oval.

Not for Swann the obvious glory of dethroning the tourists as the world’s No1 Test nation, or even the batting heroics of Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook, who both made double centuries.

Instead the Nottinghamshire twirler believes the best mark of their excellence has been their refusal to allow Sachin Tendulkar and Co to breach the 300-mark in any of their six innings at Lord’s, Trent Bridge and Edgbaston.

“I think the best thing we’ve done all series is keep India down below 300 every time we’ve bowled. Going into this series, not many people would have given us a good chance of doing that,” said Swann.

“We need to try and keep that up as well, we know the Oval is going to be a good batting pitch – it always is – but if we maintain the standards we’ve already achieved, hopefully we can do that again.”

Key to England’s potency, and 3-0 lead, has been James Anderson, who has taken 18 Indian wickets, but the fast-bowler looks set to miss tomorrow’s action – not that Swann is in any mood to accept excuses.

“We said before the series that it wouldn’t matter if we got to No1 in the world, it’s finishing off the series that is the most important thing. Come Thursday, that is what we’ll be looking to do at the Oval,” he said.

“I know Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss won’t be letting us rest on our laurels and glide through this game. They will be keener than ever that we put in a 100 per cent performance.”

Anderson’s unavailability would open the door for paceman Graham Onions, a late addition to the squad, to make his first Test appearance for a year and a half. England’s options are further reduced by the ongoing absence of Chris Tremlett.