The Indian cricket team found itself at the receiving end of scathing criticism by the British media following its humiliating innings and 244-run drubbing in the fifth and final Test at the Oval with Geoffrey Boycott calling the visiting batsmen “lambs to the slaughter”.
India’s recent saga of spineless performances touched a new low as they succumbed to their heaviest Test defeat in 40 years in a match that got over well inside three days, gifting away the series to England 3-1.
“India were pathetic when they had to bat and bowl on two seaming, swinging pitches at Old Trafford and the Oval,” Boycott wrote in his column in the ‘Daily Telegraph’.
“Their batsmen lacked application and the technique to handle two of the best Test bowlers in the world in James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
On these sort of pitches they are a handful for any batsmen and these talented kids had no experience of such conditions. The Indian batsmen were like lambs to the slaughter.”
It was yet another abject surrender by the batsman, who were shot out for 94 in just 29.2 overs.
The Independent said, “The reputation of India’s batsmen has undergone its own mini volte-face as well, with Virat Kohli suffering even more than the rest.
“He arrived being lauded as the only man who could challenge AB de Villiers for the title of best batsman in all formats of the game, he ends the series with an average of 13.40 and only 22 runs more than James Anderson, who batted five innings less – nobody’s calling him the new Tendulkar any more.”
“Their batting has become woeful, their final capitulation of the series so diabolical you imagine Geoffrey Boycott could chunter on about its ineptitude for the remaining two and a half days that this match was scheduled to go on for,” it wrote.
While statistically, it was not a ‘whitewash’ like the last time in 2011 when India lost 0-4, but once the script took a different turn in Southampton, it had only been a case of humiliation for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men, who simply were not good enough to put up a semblance of fight against a rampaging English outfit, running all over them.
“India have performed so lamentably since their victory at Lord’s that it is hard to gauge the scale of England’s improvement. At The Oval and at Old Trafford the impression was that Derbyshire would have rolled the batsmen over without much resistance,” said the ‘Guardian’.
It further said, “In the brave new world of the Big Three India were one of the parties expected to maintain and enhance the status of Test cricket. With performances like these their players are doing the opposite.”
It was ironical that India lost two Test matches with a total playing time of five days — which is the duration of a single Test match.
The BBC said: “People will point to India’s pitiful efforts with the bat in the final two Tests, but that should not detract from England’s achievement.
“They were the ones who put India in that position and once you have a team on the ground you have to be ruthless. The problem for the tourists was firstly that they allowed themselves to become totally distracted by the Anderson-Jadeja furore and secondly that they simply didn’t have any time for players to regroup and find form between the Tests.
“When you squeeze in five matches so close together, you are going to get cataclysmic results because there is no way back for a team that is on the slide.”
Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan called it a disgrace. “It’s a disgrace to think that India were blown away in 29 overs under blue skies on a pitch that was only doing a bit. They should be embarrassed.
Some of those strokes were of players who didn’t want to fight for their country,” Vaughan said on Test Match Special.