13 Dec 2016

Can Indian cricketers claim to be the best?

7:44 am on 13 December 2016

India have "the potential to become the best ever team" in Test cricket, according to head coach Anil Kumble.

The world number ones thrashed England in Mumbai to seal a fifth successive series win and a extend their unbeaten run to 17 matches.

Indian cricketers celebrate a Ravindra Jadeja wicket.

Indian cricketers celebrate a Ravindra Jadeja wicket. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"The team is exceptional in terms of intensity and situational awareness," said Kumble. "Everyone has contributed to success. This team is special."

India's last Test defeat was by Sri Lanka in Galle in August 2015.

They turned that series around to win 2-1 and have gone on to beat South Africa, New Zealand and England at home, as well as winning away in the West Indies.

Still, they are some way short of the record for most consecutive Tests without defeat, the 27 of West Indies between 1982 and 1984.

Similarly, they would have to win another four series to match the nine straight wins of England between 1884 and 1892 and Australia from 2005 to 2008.

This latest victory does give a measure of revenge for India, who were beaten at home by England in 2012, then again when they toured in 2014.

"It's a very special feeling," said captain Virat Kohli. "The last time we played England, this is the ground that we lost our momentum and lost the series mentally.

"This is probably the sweetest of all that we've won so far in the past 14, 15 months. 3-0 against a top quality side who have beaten us the last two times, everything is really good."