England’s adventure has only just started

England's Matt Prior (left), Andrew Strauss and Graeme Swann (right) celebrate
England's Matt Prior (left), Andrew Strauss and Graeme Swann (right) celebrate
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England v India. Not so much a Test series as a sporting slaughter.

It has been too one-sided to call this a classic cricketing summer.

Are England really that good or did India turn up so disgracefully under-prepared that – in racing terms – the form is false?

The answer is a bit of both.

But time to pay tribute to how far English cricket has come, winning their past six series, including two Ashes triumphs.

Gone are the days when our teams rolled up, did some half-hearted practice, sank a few beers, constantly changed the team and hoped for the best.

Even after the momentous Ashes win in 2005, England were a rabble only two years later in Australia and got hammered 5-0.

Andrew Strauss should have been in charge even back then – but they foolishly gave the job to Andrew Flintoff, who already had enough on his plate and rather enjoyed a night out.

Now under the astute leadership of Strauss and coach Andy Flower, the players get themselves in top physical and mental shape at boot camps. They dissect the strengths and weaknesses of every opposition player and hatch a plan to nullify them.

But, of course, none of it would work if the players lacked the talent, technique and mental toughness for the job.

The bowling attack is a perfect balance of pace, swing, seam, and spin as provided by James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann.

Not to mention the bounce and threat provided by the currently injured Chris Tremlett, with Steven Finn in reserve.

Alastair Cook – almost a latter day Geoff Boycott – is on course to become one of the all-time great English batsman, so impressive are his figures.

Ian Bell, once criticised for failing to deliver big scores in a crisis, has matured into a man for all seasons.

Kevin Pietersen, after going through a rough patch, is now re-established as a feared and destructive batting force.

Only at number six is there even a semblance of weakness, with neither Eoin Morgan nor Ravi Bopara totally convincing yet.

Strauss is a mighty impressive leader. Charming, articulate and approachable – yet tough as teak when he needs to be behind the scenes.

He may lack that touch of motivational and tactical genius produced by a Mike Brearley, but he does not get much wrong and never allows this team to become complacent and self-satisfied.

There will be no open-top bus parades to celebrate England’s ascent to the number one spot in the world Test rankings.

Just a good night out (every team needs that now and again) – then back to work to prepare for the job of staying at the top.

Beating India is not the end game. It might be just the beginning.