Bikash Mohapatra reports from The Oval, on the fifth day's play in the fourth Test.
It was not to be.
Sachin Tendulkar gave his ever-expectant supporters ample hope. The ace batsman had a fair bit of fortune as well, getting a reprieve on two occasions, Graeme Swann being the unfortunate bowler in both cases.
However, all of it boiled down to zilch, as Tim Bresnan had the Master Blaster leg before for 91.
Tendulkar's wait for a 100th international hundred increased, this despite having come so close on Monday, the final day of the fourth Test at The Oval.
His dismissal also witnessed a by-now-familiar Indian capitulation.
Swann rose to the occasion, on a wicket that took turn, to finish with figures of six for 106. It was the spinner's 11th five-wicket haul in Test cricket, but his first against an Indian batting line-up, renowned for playing spin well.
Chasing 291 just to make England bat again, India were dismissed for 283, and lost by an innings an eight runs.
The victory secured England a 4-0 series whitewash, their first over the visitors since 1974.
It is India's first whitewash in 11 years, since they lost 0-3 Down Under.
Resuming at 216 for three post-lunch, everything looked good for India. There was no swing in the wicket -- it resembled an Indian dust bowl. Both the overnight batsmen, Tendulkar and Mishra, appeared set to score big hundreds.
When Tendulkar was put down by Prior (off Swann) on 85, it seemed that was all he needed to reach the landmark. However, despite getting no assistance whatsoever from the wicket, the English bowlers kept trying.
And their persistence was eventually rewarded when Swann had Mishra caught behind. The leg spinner's 141-ball 84 was inclusive of 10 hits to the fence. More importantly, he put on 144 runs for the fourth wicket with Tendulkar, at times matching his far more illustrious partner stroke-for-stroke.
The second English success came in Bresnan's next over. A big one at that!
Tendulkar's 172-ball knock was inclusive of 11 boundaries.
Suresh Raina, having faced 13 balls, was given leg before to Swann. The batsman had a pair in the match, having faced 42 balls.
With the new ball taken shortly after, there was a procession of Indian wickets that followed the Master Blaster back to the pavilion.
Stuart Broad struck twice in his second over, first having MS Dhoni (2) caught by Swann at second slip and then RP Singh (0) caught behind.
The latter's dismissal meant five wickets had fallen in the space of 45 minutes in the second session, with India needing a further 22 runs to make England bat again.
Swann was denied his fifth wicket when Ishant Sharma went for a bat-pad review (and survived). The bowler achieved the same, nonetheless, by having Gautam Gambhir (3) caught by Eoin Morgan at point.
He completed Indian misery by cleaning up S Sreesanth (6) a few overs later.
In sum, if the day's first session was all about Indian resistance, the second was about its collapse. The visitors lost their last seven wickets for just 21 runs.
Morning session (87 runs, 30 overs, no wickets):
Probably, for the first time in the series the intent was visible in India's batting.
The target was always to save the fourth Test at The Oval and avoid a series whitewash, but in the first three days the Indians seemed capable of doing anything but that.
While there were some signs on Day 4, it was on the fifth day that one witnessed Indian batsman, other than Dravid, showing some resolve.
On one hand there was Sachin Tendulkar, using all his experience as a shield, while on the other, there was Amit Mishra, whose resolute batting would have put many frontline batsmen to shame.
The duo combined well for the fourth wicket, putting on 64 runs. More importantly, they frustrated the England bowlers no end.
If the home team had contemplated running through the Indian batting order, following an excellent final session on the fourth day when they picked three wickets, they were mistaken.
The Master Blaster and his Man Friday had come prepared to take the battle to the opposition.
Mishra got to a well-deserved half century just before lunch with a couple off Bresnan. It was a second career fifty for the leggie, after his 50 against Bangladesh last year. He was unbeaten at 57.
Tendulkar, having been dropped (on 70) at short leg by Cook (off Swann), was batting on 72. The 100th international century is definitely on the cards.
India were 216 for three (after 65 overs) at the breather.
For once, India were dominant in a session. Only, they failed to carry forward the good work to the next.