So India lost a Test match and the knives are out. Nothing unusual about that, it being a typical Indian trait. The criticism is harsh and imbalanced bordering on the ludicrous. Everyone and everything is at fault from the batting to the bowling, from the fielding to the captaincy, from the coach to the team selection.

When will Indian cricket followers take defeat in their stride, accept that however well the team played, and there were more than just crumbs of comfort, England played the better cricket and emerged deserving winners.

It is not every time that a team recovers from a 132-run deficit to turn the tables so emphatically as to win by seven wickets. In the process they reached their highest ever total to win in the fourth innings. On that count alone England deserves full credit. Didn't Ben Stokes say after winning the toss that they would bowl first because they have been chasing well and would love to do so again.

That was a confident captain talking with three successive run chases behind him against New Zealand. And after the Edgbaston Test Stokes went as far as to say, "there was a bit of me that almost wanted India to get 450 to see what we would do.'' Now that is not being pompous. This is a confident England squad under a new coach and captain playing some very attractive and positive cricket and he has every right to say that especially after reaching a formidable target of 378 with only three wickets down.

A lot was made of the fact that England would not find it that easy against India as they did against New Zealand against whom they won all three Tests. India was reckoned to be the stronger side but on what basis one wonders. Actually there is not much to choose between the five top teams: Australia, India, England, New Zealand and South Africa, and playing at home is always an advantage.

So how did one reach the conclusion that India was stronger than New Zealand and would stretch England and perhaps even win? Much was made particularly of the bowling with the Indian pace attack rated higher than New Zealand's. That is just not true for if Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj are good, so are Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner. Even a cursory glance at the career stats would confirm this.

Yes, there were a couple of occasions when India faltered, when they allowed England to recover in the first innings after a dismal start and then not being able to consolidate on the handy lead on the fourth day. But the manner in which England coasted to victory too much need not to be made of the batting failure on the penultimate day or the bowling failure in England's second innings. It would be so much better to say, "well done England, well played and congratulations. The better team won."

I am not advocating a fatalistic attitude. Sure there is scope for India to perform better and if changes are to be made so be it. There are a few players who should be dropped and will in any way be axed as senior players Rohit Sharma, R. Ashwin and K. L. Rahul should be back for the next Test which in any case is only in November.

But in the meantime, give credit where it is due and let us not be too harsh on the Indian team which too played some good cricket. There was that unforgettable hundred by Rishabh Pant while Ravindra Jadeja enhanced his reputation with the bat. Bumrah maintained his with the ball and Shami and Siraj too had their moments. But the double failures of nearly half the players was too much of a leeway to make up and very simply put that in the ultimate analysis cost India the game.

Meanwhile, there is no stopping the England juggernaut which just keeps rolling past the opposition. Four successive victories over two of the leading teams in the world has attracted considerable attention. But what has attracted much more attention is the manner in which England are playing, attractive, entertaining cricket bordering on daredevilry. One can understand Jonny Bairstow batting aggressively. He is a natural. But the metamorphosis in England's approach is symbolised by Joe Root. Essentially, a classy textbook cricketer who plays pleasing drives and sublime square cuts he is now repeatedly reverse sweeping and switch hitting the ball for fours and sixes. He has certainly been engulfed by this new attitude and always one of the great contemporary batsmen he has now surged ahead of the competition to be the best at the moment.

Sure there are problems for England at the top of the order but the middle order is so strong that there is enough arsenal to make up for the brittleness at the top. The bowling admittedly is over dependent on James Anderson and Stuart Broad but what competitors they continue to be. The former is a modern marvel, 657 wickets from 172 Tests played over a 19-year period. No specialist fast bowler has been so successful or durable.

In many ways Anderson who turns 40 on July 30, is unique not the least by his latest feat of notching up at least one five-wicket haul in Tests for 16 consecutive years (2007 to 2022). Broad, his comrade-in-arms for nearly 15 years is not far behind, 552 wickets from 156 Tests with the advantage of being four years younger.

Like good wine the duo is getting better with age and overall there is a good reason why the England team are the current hot flavour. Yes, the cynics insist that they are playing at home and express doubts that they will not do well in away contests. But one gets the distinct impression this is an England team that can perform admirably anywhere.