England are the undisputed kings of world cricket after ripping the crown off India in ruthless fashion. And the No.1 spot is so richly deserved for Andrew Strauss and his swashbuckling team of heroes.
But what a disappointment to see Sachin Tendulkar – arguably the greatest batsman of all-time – denied a remarkable milestone at the Oval.
With the Indian’s battling to avoid a 4-0 series whitewash, the tourist’s superstar batsman looked odds-on to become the first player in history to score 100 international hundreds when he reached the nervous nineties.
Most England fans, confident of yet another victory, wanted to see Tendulkar achieve his goal and it almost seemed inevitable when he enjoyed a charmed life as he was dropped twice and survived a stumping that should have been out.
But the fairytale scenario of Tendulkar making his ton as England triumphed fell apart when his partnership of 144 with Amit Mishra ended. When he was out lbw to Tim Bredsnan on 91 there was an air of disbelief.
Mishra had been bowled by Graeme Swann on 84 in the previous over – and England ruthlessly claimed India’s last seven wickets for 21 runs. It was England’s first whitewash over India since 1974 as Swann finished with 6-106 and a spell of four wickets for seven runs. Swann’s dazzling individual display crowned a series packed with spectacular performances from this incredible England team.
FOOTNOTE: Sachin Tendulkar became the first and only cricketer to score 100 international centuries when he made 114 against Bangladesh in March 2012.