The best England performance I have ever seen
It was like watching Steve Waugh's Australians in their pomp this weekend at Trent Bridge.
At approximately 5pm last Friday it looked like India were about to restake their claim as the World's #1 Test playing nation. I thought so, my work colleagues thought so, the commentators thought so and the crowd thought so. I even think the England players on the balcony thought so. The only ones not in sync were the resurgent Stuart Broad and Graham Swann.
Counter attack complete and England were in the game-just!
At approx 5pm on Saturday, having had a little bat at Alvanley CC in a top of the table Cheshire League clash against Oakmere (we scored 213), India were back in control at 267-4 ( a lead of 40 odd). I had earlier been asked by some colleagues why I thought England had persevered with Broad. My quick reply was "he gets good players out, can bowl devastating spells and bats a bit!"
At drinks in our game, roughly an hour later, an excited scorer entered the field of play to tell us Broad had just got 5-0 including a hatrick. They all looked at me as though I was some kind of mystic, but I assure you I was as surprised as anybody. England were back from the brink again!
The rest was just magic, Bell with a magnificent 158 despite that blip, the excellent Prior, whose claim to be the best wktkeeper/batsman in Test cricket is not hollow, Bresnan, surely the most improved cricketer on these shores was just brilliant and Broad and Anderson were again almost unplayable.
India ended in a heap, a real shambles, but don't dwell on that. England sent them packing with the best display I have ever seen. This Winter was good, but this was something else! I am not going to predict India can't comeback because they have some of the best players of all time in their ranks and Sehwag is back....however, I would not be surprised to see a 4-0 drubbing.
Do England deserve to be number 1? Well consider this....since 2004, when central contracts kicked in properly and the ECB got serious about all aspects of cricket, then England have won the Ashes 3 times, won in South Africa, beaten all the other Test nations in a series at least once except India who they are on the brink of humiliating. Decide for yourself but I think they deserve to be called the best.
Oh, and by the way, we bowled Oakmere out for 143 to stay top of the League!!