Tim Bresnan shone with both bat and ball as England crushed India by a record-breaking 319 runs at Trent Bridge on Monday to win the second Test with more than a day to spare.
England’s winning margin was a record in terms of runs in the 101-match history of Tests between the two sides.
India, set a record victory target of 478, were bowled out for 158, with Sachin Tendulkar top-scoring with 56, but still left searching for an unprecedented and elusive 100th international century.
Bresnan, who only came into the side when Chris Tremlett was ruled out with injury, made 90 batting at No. 8 in England’s second innings of 544. He then took a maiden five-wicket Test haul.
England’s win gave them a 2-0 lead in the four-match series as they look to knock India off top spot in the ICC’s world rankings.
Andrew Strauss’ side will replace India at the summit if they maintain or better their lead in the remaining two Tests.
“We are just going to focus on winning the next Test, the rest of that stuff will look after itself,” Strauss said.
He also praised India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for reprieving England batsman Ian Bell after he was run out on Sunday, carelessly leaving his crease to head to the pavilion for tea.
“It was a very commendable decision,” he said. “It was the right thing for cricket. I think Mahendra has set a great example for me and other Test captains.”
Dhoni, reflecting on the Bell run-out, added: “When we went back to the dressing room for tea, everything was OK, but inside we were not feeling right about the incident.”
India were undone by an inspired Stuart Broad, who followed up his 64 with the bat in the first innings by taking a hat-trick on his way to Test-best figures of six for 46 in the tourists first-innings reply of 288.
“The bowlers are doing a very good job, but we need to put more runs on the board,” Dhoni said.
He added that India — without injured opener Virender Sehwag for the first two Tests and Gautam Gambhir for this one, and also missing paceman Zaheer Khan because of a hamstring problem — were hampered by injuries.
“Zaheer is having a few deliveries, we don’t know exactly where we stand right now,” he said.
As for Sehwag, recovering from a shoulder problem, Dhoni said: “I have no official word, but hopefully he will come and give us the strength we need.”
Meanwhile, Broad, starring on his Nottinghamshire home ground, said of his display: “I’ve found a fuller length and it’s paid off, and I’ll look to do that in the next couple of Tests, but I think the 60 [runs] when we were in trouble was pleasing as well.”
Bresnan took a maiden Test five-wicket haul of five for 48 in 12 overs on Monday — including two in two balls before tea.
“Tim Bresnan has never let anyone down,” Strauss said.
“He was outstanding with bat and ball,” he said.
Before lunch, England saw off Rahul Dravid, who made 117 in India’s first innings, for just 6 when he was caught behind off Broad.
Venkatsai Laxman was then clean bowled by a superb James Anderson delivery for 4, before Bresnan struck.
First Yuvraj Singh gloved a rising delivery to Alastair Cook at backward silly-point and was out for 8. Then Dhoni, inexplicably playing no shot, was leg before wicket for a golden duck to leave the tourists 55 for six and Bresnan on a hat-trick at the start of his next over, which Harbhajan Singh survived.