Swann delighted to contribute
A jubilant Graeme Swann admitted he was happy to be in the wickets after inspiring England to an innings-and-eight-run triumph over India at the Kia Oval to wrap up a 4-0 npower series whitewash.
Swann had taken just four wickets in the series prior to this Test but he followed up three scalps in the first innings with figures of 6-106 to help Andrew Strauss’ side strengthen their position as the best Test side in the world.
Sachin Tendulkar and Amit Mishra threatened to salvage a draw for the tourists with a fourth-wicket partnership of 144 that brought them to within 29 runs of England’s first-innings score.
On a wearing fifth day pitch that was offering a lot of turn, it was unsurprisingly Swann who made the breakthrough when he bowled Mishra and that led to a collapse as India lost their last seven wickets for 21 runs to be all out for 283.
The Nottinghamshire off-spinner told ecb.co.uk: “We knew if we hung in there, we’d get a sniff of this game. At one point, it looked like we might have to bat again so the batters were getting quite nervous but happily it didn’t turn out that way and we managed to wrap it up.
“I knew I had to do a job today, there was nothing in that (the wicket) for the seamers and that’s why I’m so appreciative of the fact that they did chip in and get a few at the other end.
“Going into the last day, you know it’s going to turn, the pressure’s on you as a spinner, I haven’t bowled at my best in the last few weeks.
“It’s been a tough, lean summer for me because the seamers have been doing all the work, so it all came down to this game for me to keep my numbers up so I’m more than happy that I managed to do that.”
Swann paid tribute to the effort of the team over the course of the series as he acknowledged a whitewash would have been unthinkable six weeks ago.
He added: “I think it’s a stunning achievement. No one would have given us that scoreline at the start of the summer.
“A lot of things have gone our way. The conditions have suited us, certainly in the first three games. Strangely these conditions are probably more what India are used to and yet we still managed to win by an innings, so it’s been a phenomenal summer and we’re delighted.”
Fellow bowler Tim Bresnan broke Indian hearts when he had Sachin Tendulkar trapped in front on 91 in amongst the tourists’ batting collapse to keep the Little Master waiting for that elusive 100th international hundred.
It was the first time Bresnan had dismissed the veteran batsman but the Yorkshire seamer revealed that he bowled an innocuous delivery.
Bresnan said: “(It was a) bit of a loosener as well. He was probably thinking ‘He’s probably going to give me a loosener here, I’ll just run across and tuck it into the vacant square-leg area and get down the other end’ but he missed it.
“I don’t think I’ve got him out before so it’s massive.”