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    England beginning to assert their supremacy

    But while they seem unbeatable at home, they need to win abroad as well to maintain their position at the top.

    But while they seem unbeatable at home, they need to win abroad as well to maintain their position at the top.

    But while England seem unbeatable at home, they need to win abroad, especially on the tour of India later this year, to assert their supremacy.

    England, the home of cricket, has always had its share of uncertainties and misfortunes throughout its cricketing existence. The originators of the game once even slipped down to the bottom of the Test rankings when they suffered a home series defeat against New Zealand in 1999. Ever since, they have always been known as the 'Dark Horse' of cricket. But all that was to change a decade later.

    A rebuilding process - which took almost 10 years, three different captains and Andy Flower as coach - witnessed many England greats calling it a day. All these eventually paid off and the agonising wait ended when India toured England in the summer of 2011.

    Many cricket pundits believed it to be the 'Battle Royale' simply because the top two Test teams were all set to lock horns in a series which probably expected to bring out the best in both the sides. The result, however, was something that probably no one expected.

    The home side mauled the No. 1 team by a 4-0 margin, replacing them at the altar of Test cricket and retaining it till date as they await the South Africans in another battle for the number one spot.

    But the Ashes win in Australia was probably where England's climb got underway, during which they beat the Aussies by an innings three times.

    The rise of the Bells and the Trotts have given their Test line-up a solidity like never before, along with the likes of Kevin Pietersen and captain Andrew Strauss. But it's their bowling unit - comprising Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann - that has been more instrumental in taking them to the acme, arguably the best bowling line-up of the modern era.

    But it's not the same when the Englishmen travel.

    There is nothing denying the success that the team has achieved over the past few years - at home. But an analyst or a purist would still put a question mark over England's performances - away from home.

    To be honest, the rise of England as a cricketing power has only witnessed the team put in incomparable performances in their backyard. Earlier this year, they toured Sri Lanka for a two-Test series which resulted in a 1-1 draw. Clearly, a series win was needed to testify their No. 1 status. But then came the telling blow.

    In a Test series where the English batsmen danced to Saeed Ajmal's tune in the UAE, the Pakistanis whitewashed the tourists 3-0 - a clear reality-check for the No. 1 team. Though Strauss had his boys arrest the slide with a series win against the West Indies, it once again happened in friendly home conditions. That, in fact, sharpened the critics' knives, who feel only a win against the visiting South Africans and then on the tour of India later this year can help England assert their No. 1 status.

    A tour of India awaits them in November which is bound to attract a lot many eyeballs for a couple of reasons: one, a resurgent India will be looking for revenge and two, how will the number one Test team fare in dry, spinning conditions against a team that is one of the toughest to beat at home.

    However, nothing can be taken away from the Three Lions who are currently the most consistent side in the world, also proving it in the limited-overs format, where they beat Australia 4-0 in an ODI series and will be the defending champions at the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.