The fourth Test also finished on a disappointing note. A lot was expected on Day Five at The Oval, which was still a very good batting surface.
Certainly, the ball was spinning but batting was still possible, as was shown by Sachin Tendulkar and Amit Mishra. Mishra was outstanding and he batted better than his senior partner. While he was at the crease, he did send a message to the dressing room that, 'if I can, the rest can do too'. But that was not to happen. His technique against the pace and spin was remarkable.
It's very important that Mishra harnesses this department of his game, and if he can improve his bowling by about 15 per cent, he will be an asset to the team. Mishra has to remember that it's his bowling that will get him a place in the playing XI. Sachin was scratchy in the last innings of the series. England let him off a few times but he must be happy to have a good score under his belt in a series which has been hugely demoralising. Although he missed his hundredth 100, I am sure he would like to do it in a better fashion, and for a winning cause.
A lot of us will pass judgment after the series, but I will say that one series is no basis to do so, but certainly this should be an eye-opener. The Indian Premier League (IPL) will once again take a battering, but it can't be the reason for this performance. One should remember that Dravid, Tendulkar and Pietersen among others play in the IPL and still have been successful in the series.
The IPL is a huge platform for a lot of cricketers and criticising the tournament after every India defeat is nonsense.
There will be questions asked about Dhoni's captaincy. He needs to get the benefit of doubt. It is not the right time to pass judgement on his captaincy, but he surely has to look after his game. Dhoni has to see his batting doesn't diminish because of captaincy pressures.