Continuing our countdown of England’s top five Test Match performances, the 2011 devastation of India comes in at number two.Back in 2011 The redevelopment of Edgbaston had finished and England took on India in first game in the new look stadium. England demolished India by an innings and 242-runs at a delirious Edgbaston to knock the tourists of the top of the World Test rankings.
England were two up in the four match Series and they knew another victory against the likes of MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid would clinch the Series. Andrew Strauss, England’s skipper, won the toss and elected to field as Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag came out to open the batting for India. After resounding victories at Lord’s and Trent Bridge, England put themselves in a great position to secure the win they need to displace India from the top of the world Test rankings after they dominated the opening day of the third Test at Edgbaston.
England’s seamers ripped apart a top order supposedly strengthened by the return from injury of first-choice openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. Sehwag, billed as a potential game-changer for his ability to score quickly and heavily, went for a golden duck as he failed to get his hands out of the way of a rising delivery from Broad. Gambhir led a brief fightback, peppering the boundary rope with some elegant drives as India reached 47-1 in the first hour.
England put themselves in a great position to secure the win they need to displace India from the top of the world Test rankings after they dominated the opening day of the third Test at Edgbaston.cite=
Just when the visitors looked to be taking control of the session, an inside edge off Bresnan cannoned onto the left-hander’s off stump. Sachin Tendulkar, seeking that elusive 100th international century, faced eight balls for one run before pushing hard at Broad and edging to James Anderson at third slip.
And another one-sided session was complete when Bresnan fired a superb ball through Rahul Dravid’s defences on the stroke of lunch.
When Amit Mishra was caught behind for four, India were in deep trouble, but Dhoni launched into a savage counter-attack, reminiscent of Broad’s when England rallied from 124-8 to reach 221 on the opening day at Trent Bridge. Deciding to smash his way into form, Dhoni lofted deliveries from Anderson, Bresnan and Graeme Swann over the ropes as he and Praveen Kumar added 84 in 14 overs.
The duo took India through to tea on a high, but the fun was over soon after the interval as Kumar took a swipe at a Bresnan short ball and was caught behind and Dhoni edged a fullish away-swinger from Broad. Anderson wrapped things up as Cook took a sharp catch at silly point to remove Ishant Sharma, before England’s openers added to India’s misery. Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad took four wickets apiece as England showed another fantastic display in the field.
After the start of play was delayed for 30 minutes by rain, England’s openers made steady progress from their overnight 84-0 to bring up the home side’s seventh century partnership of the series, compared to only one by India. With Strauss and Cook unwilling to take risks, the onus was on India to make something happen but once again their body language was devoid of energy, their bowling pedestrian and their fielding lacklustre. Cook struck the first four of the day in the 16th over and reached his 27th Test fifty off 130 balls just before lunch.
Strauss looked primed for his first hundred since Brisbane in November until he attempted to sweep leg-spinner Amit Mishra and was bowled round his legs, with replays revealing Mishra had overstepped and should have been called for a no-ball. Ian Bell, given a rousing reception at his home ground by an increasingly vocal crowd, was positive from the outset, striking six fours to reach 30 off 24 balls and take England into the lead. But moments after Cook had brought the spectators to their feet by reaching his hundred, Bell induced a collective sigh as he was bowled by a fine leg-cutter from the tireless Praveen Kumar.
Pietersen was in no mood to hang around, serving notice of his intent by smashing Mishra for six and storming to 50 off 53 balls. Eoin Morgan clattered his first ball for four, but should have been dismissed for 17 when he sliced straight to point, where Sreesanth dropped, and on 43 when he was put down by Rahul Dravid at slip in the final over of the day. Cook shared in a stand of 222 with Eoin Morgan, with the Dubliner reaching three figures for the second time in Tests. After batting for almost 13 hours without offering a single chance, Cook holed out for 294 to prompt Andrew Strauss to call time with England on a mammoth 710-7.
The 26-year-old reached three figures for the 19th time in his 71st Test to move within three of the all-time England record and level with Strauss and Len Hutton in equal sixth place. While Cook, who converted five of his last 11 hundreds into scores of 150 or more, was a model of concentration and stamina, India once again showed little appetite for the fight, their malaise encapsulated in the spilling of three routine chances. Cook’s monumental effort was the sixth highest score by an Englishman, and the best since Graham Gooch’s 333 against the same opposition in 1990.
India were 486-runs behind going into the second innings and knew that they needed to bat for the best part of two days on a turning wicket to prevent the hosts securing the win that would put them top of the world Test rankings. They made the worst possible start when Sehwag nicked an Anderson away-swinger to first slip and there was enough encouragement for the spinners to suggest Graeme Swann could have a major role to play as England push for a victory on Saturday.James Anderson set England on the victory trail by removing Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman inside the first hour in a brilliant spell of swing bowling. Captain MS Dhoni and Praveen Kumar delayed the inevitable with an entertaining partnership of 75 but Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan mopped up the tail as India were bundled out for 244.
England’s victory by an innings and 242 runs gave them an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series and provided emphatic confirmation of their new status as the best team in the world. What a performance this was against a very strong Indian side which included one of the best cricketers in history in Sachin Tendulkar. Cook was man of the match and broke many records such as the highest individual Test score at Edgbaston. England showed that they were the best team in the world after absolutely dominating this Test Match and this performance deserves to go down as the second best at Edgbaston.
Keep your eyes peeled on Edgbaston.com as we reveal England’s best Test Match performance at Edgbaston. Don’t forget, Test Match cricket returns to Birmingham this summer as England will be aiming to claim another emphatic victory in front of the Edgbaston crowd when they take on Pakistan. Tickets are available to purchase and please note Day 3 (Friday 5 August) is selling very quickly.