London: England sealed a 4-0 series rout of India with an innings and eight-run victory at The Oval here on Monday as Sachin Tendulkar fell just short of an unprecedented 100th international hundred.
India, who needed 291 runs to make the hosts bat again, frustrated England during a fourth-wicket partnership of 144 between Tendulkar, who made 91, and Amit Mishra.
But when Mishra was out for a Test-best 84, it was the start of a collapse that saw India lose seven wickets for 21 runs on the way to 283 all out.
Off-spinner Graeme Swann, at last presented with a pitch taking turn this series, did the bulk of the damage with six for 106 to the delight of the majority of a sell-out 23,500 crowd.
It was the first time England had swept a four-match series since a 4-0 home whitewash of the West Indies in 2004.
India resumed on Monday’s fifth and final day on 129 for three, still 162 runs shy of England’s first innings 591 for six declared featuring Ian Bell’s Test-best 235 and Kevin Pietersen’s 175.
Tendulkar was 25 not out and Mishra eight not out.
England, who’d replaced India at the top of the ICC’s Test Championship table with an innings and 242 run victory at Edgbaston last time out, endured a wicketless morning session.
But Tendulkar, whose previous best score this series was 56 in the second Test at Trent Bridge, should have been out for 70 when Alastair Cook at short leg dropped a bat-pad catch off Swann.
There was further frustration for Swann and England when Tendulkar was dropped by Prior on 85.
But Swann made the breakthrough an increasingly anxious England wanted when Mishra, playing for turn that never came, was bowled, having easily surpassed his previous Test-best of 50 against Bangladesh in Chittagong last year.
It was another fine effort with the bat by Mishra who made 43 in a first innings 300 featuring Rahul Dravid’s 146 not out after taking no wickets for a hugely expensive 170 runs with his leg-spinners.
Tendulkar though seemed set to complete his ton of tons.
But nine runs short the 38-year-old was lbw to seamer Tim Bresnan.
Australian umpire Rod Tucker took his time before raising his finger, with replays indicating the ball would have just clipped the top of leg stump.
Tendulkar, walked off to a standing ovation after his best score of the series, topping his 57 in the second Test at Trent Bridge.
He batted for nearly four hours, facing 172 balls with 11 fours.
Wickets then tumbled in quick succession, with Suresh Raina lbw to Swann to complete a 42-ball pair before India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni drove loosely at Stuart Broad, armed with the new ball and was well caught by Swann in the slips for three.
RP Singh was caught behind for a duck off Broad.
Swann then had Gautam Gambhir caught in the gully before ending the match by bowling last man Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.