The resilience of the Indian lower order ensured that the third Test went into the final day. But even though it was not an innings victory, this was another comprehensive result for England. This win at the Eden Gardens brings them closer to South Africa, currently the No 1 side.
Over the last couple of years, the English team and management have put a lot of focus on Tests — irrespective of the results, they have kept on preparing well. The results were seen when they won the Ashes in Australia and, soon thereafter, claimed the No 1 spot from India. Despite a few hiccups, they seem to be back on track.
With another Test to go here, followed by the New Zealand series and the Ashes at home, this talented bunch of English cricketers will go all out to reclaim the top spot.
Preparation is vital
Pre-series preparation is extremely vital. England knew that touring the subcontinent is a huge challenge. Playing India at home is never easy. Practice matches play a crucial role in terms of getting acclimatised to the conditions, weather, wickets and the way of life. Prioritising Test cricket is important for all national boards; England does that, and I think it's time India also start doing that. India play a lot of limited-overs cricket, which is fine but they need to play more and more Test matches. They should focus hard on climbing back up the ladder of ICC Test Rankings.
Not getting the right combination served as a lesson to the England team in the first Test at Ahmedabad but they were quick to make amends. I always believed Monty Panesar would be lethal in these conditions and the two seamers who should be playing all the Tests had to be James Anderson and Steven Finn.
Had Monty and Finn been around in Ahmedabad, things could have been much better for England. But it was heartening to see the way England competed after being one down. A lot of credit goes to the ones who were expected to excel - skipper Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann and Monty.
Finn's good performance with the ball and Ian Bell's short outing in the second innings would give them a lot of confidence ahead of the next Test. PMG
The writer is a former