It’s not the result but the manner of defeat that is causing pain among the Indian fans. It was supposed to be the marquee series between the challengers and the defending champions, but India's performance has slid with each passing day on this tour.
Skipper MS Dhoni admitted his team was outplayed in all three Tests. “You have to be at your best when you play top nations. Our batting didn't click. We couldn’t put par plus scores and were outplayed by a better team in both batting and bowling,” he said.
“The series never went our way. Most of the sessions were won by them. I can’t pinpoint reasons for what went wrong. The pressure kept mounting as the series progressed,” he added.
Andrew Strauss’s side had started the series ranked third, trailing top-ranked India by eight ratings points. England needed to win the series by a 2-0 margin but they have exceeded it by claiming the first three Tests.
Dhoni played down the disappointment of losing the top spot. “It is something you earn, not own. We have to now look at where we are,” he said.
The immediate challenge for India is to find a way to pick themselves up for the Oval Test. If they lose 4-0, they will be relegated to the third spot on the rankings, behind South Africa.
Loss margin irrelevant
After suffering crushing defeats, it will be easier said than done. They lost at Lord's by 196 runs, by 319 runs at Trent Bridge and by an innings and 242 runs at Edgbaston. “There’s no point in looking at the margin of defeats whether it is by four runs, four wickets or 400 runs. The question is whether it will help us to get back.”
Personally too, it was a humbling experience. It was his first series defeat after taking over as captain. “You can’t play at the top level thinking that you’ll always win. The whole team needs to click at the same time. In one out of 10-15 series, you might win it because of individual brilliance. (Losing is also a) big part of life and that’s what makes life interesting.” The team has come under fire because it was felt that they took the No. 1 ranking for granted. The lack of preparation hurt chances here. “We played 200 days of cricket so what more do you want us to do? We try to make the most of it.”