India's horror run in the Test series against England came to a tame end at The Oval on Monday as England completed a 4-0 whitewash by taking seven wickets in the post-Lunch session on day five to beat the visitors by an innings and eight runs.
But the end result was hardly a likelihood at the end of first session on Monday, in which SachinTendulkar and AmitMishra's defiant partnership didn't let England make any inroads.
Trailing by 266 runs at the start of play on the final day, Tendulkar and Mishra put on a 144-run partnership that all but took India closer to forcing a draw and avoid the embarrassment of a 4-0 scoreline. But Mishra's dismissal triggered a mini collapse where India lost seven wickets for 21 runs, including the disappointment of Tendulkar missing his 100th international hundred by an agonizing margin of nine runs.
Graeme Swann kept his best for the last as he took his first five-wicket haul of the series and ended with figures of six for 106. Stuart Broad (2/44) picked up a couple while Tim Bresnan (1/30) and England’s ‘Man of the Series’ Stuart Broad (1/54) finished with one wicket each.
The 4-0 scoreline also pushed India to number three in the ICC Test rankings, with England replacing the visitors at the top. RahulDravid was named India's 'Man of the Series' for his three centuries.
In the morning, India began their attempt to save the embarrassment of a 4-0 whitewash with Tendulkar reaching his half century.
Tendulkar started aggressively as he didn't hold himself back from driving on the up or playing the horizontal bat shots. And it was as square cut off Anderson for a single that brought up his half century in 74 balls.
But what added strength to India's hopes was the defiant approach of night-watchman AmitMishra, who continued to frustrate England like he did in the first innings. He was at ease even against the vicious off-spin of Graeme Swann and brought up the fifty partnership for the fourth wicket with a copybook sweeping boundary off Swann.
Watching the Indian duo having answers to almost everything, Andrew Strauss brought on Bresnan but India were ready for him as well, bringing up their 200.
However, the first session wasn't devoid of a heart-stopping moment for India. Facing Swann, Tendulkar's forward prod took an inside edge and lobbed off to Alastair Cook at short leg. But the England opener made a mess of it with Tendulkar at 70.
That was followed by Mishra's valuable half century in the last over before lunch that was taken with India 216/3, having added 87 runs in 30 overs, but still 75 short of England.
Post-Lunch, the partnership reached the 100-run mark. Interestingly, Mishra was the major contributor with 58 runs, while Tendulkar scored 41.
Tendulkar got his second life at the score of 77. Once again, Swann was the dejected bowler as Matt Prior dropped a regulation nick.
Having survived two chances so far, it seemed Sachin was destined to get his most cherished ton at The Oval. But a stutter arrived before it could happen, when Swann finally got through Mishra'sdefences to bowl him for a splendid innings of 84 runs that came off 141 balls, including 10 boundaries.
While it broke the 144-run partnership, the worse was to follow for Tendulkar and India. On the verge of his 100th ton, Bresnan got his man when he trapped Tendulkar in front for 91.
The disappointment of Tendulkar's miss was not over for the Indian fans when Suresh Raina became the second Indian batsman in the series to get a pair. Swann was once again the bowler, who had the woefully out-of-form Raina out lbw; however, replays showed the ball took an inside edge before striking Raina's pads.
But the slide triggered by Mishra’s wicket didn’t stop there as MS Dhoni and RP Singh fell on the score of 269, still 22 runs short of making England bat again.
A visibly uncomfortable GautamGambhir fell six runs later and at the score of 283, England completed the whitewash with S Sreesanth’s wicket.