LONDON, Aug 22 (PTI): Sachin Tendulkar came agonisingly close to a phenomenal 100th international century before a pathetic India slumped to an innings and eight runs defeat in the fourth and final cricket Test to give a ruthless England a resounding 4-0 series win here today.
Needing to bat out the entire fifth day to save the game, Tendulkar (91) led a spirited fightback alongwith Amit Mishra (84) but the complexion of the game changed dramatically after their dismissals as the visitors lost as many as seven wickets for a mere 21 runs to be all out for 283 in the second innings just at the stroke of tea.
With this emphatic victory, England officially crowned themselves the number one team in Test rankings with 125 points followed by South Africa with 118 points.
The Indians, who started the series as the number one Test team, surrendered the number one tag after losing the third Test in Birmingham and have now slipped to the number three position following the 4-0 whitewash. Spinner Graeme Swann was the wrecker-in-chief for England with with impressive figures of six for 106 while Stuart Broad chipped in with two wickets.
Resuming at the overnight total of 129 for three, Tendulkar and Mishra raised hopes of drawing the game as the duo put on 144 runs for the fourth wicket but Mishra�s departure virtually opened up the floodgates as none of the Indian batsmen showed the determination to hang around for long.
The visitors suffered a stunning collapse, losing their last seven wickets for 21 runs, a reflection of the caputilation which has been a feature right through the series.
Tendulkar and Mishra, who resumed this morning, continued the good work for the first 40 minutes after lunch but then both were gone in quick succession.
Mishra started the rot when he played inside the line to a Graeme Swann delivery and his off-stump was pegged back. The gusty knock by the leg-spinner lasted for 184 minutes and 141 balls and his 84 runs included 10 fours.
From the other end, India suffered the double blow when Tendulkar was given out leg before wicket which appeared a harsh decision as the Tim Bresnan delivery appeared to be heading down the leg stump.
England (Ist innings): 591 for 6 decl
India (Ist innings): 300 all out
India (2nd innings): (following on) Sehwag b Swann 33, Dravid c Cook b Swann 13, Laxman b Anderson 24, Tendulkar lbw b Bresnan 91, Mishra b Swann 84, Raina lbw b Swann 0, Dhoni c Swann b Broad 3, Gambhir c Morgan b Swann 3, RP Singh c Prior b Broad 0, Ishant not out 7, Sreesanth b Swann 6; Extras: (B-12, LB-7) 19. TOTAL: (all out in 91 overs) 283. Fall of wickets: 1-49, 2-64 , 3-118, 4-262, 5-262, 6-266, 7-269, 8-269, 9-275. Bowling: James Anderson 17-4-54-1, Stuart Broad 20-6-44-2, Graeme Swann 38-6-106-6, Tim Bresnan 11-2-30-1, Ravi Bopara 3-0-13-0, Kevin Pietersen 2-0-17-0.