We were motivated to make it 4-0: Strauss
In the end, Andrew Strauss was a relieved man.
The 34-year-old led England to a comprehensive innings and eight runs victory over India in the fourth and final Test at The Oval on Monday.
The same ensured a 4-0 sweep of the series, the home team's first over the visitors since 1974, making Strauss only the third captain to lead England to such a dominant result.
However, it wasn't all hunky-dory to begin with on the fifth day.
For a while, it felt India would avoid the series whitewash. The fourth-wicket stand between Sachin Tendulkar (91) and night-watchman Amit Mishra (84), that ensured India 144 runs, frustrated the home team to a considerable degree. Strauss was categorical in his acceptance of the same.
"The morning session was very frustrating," he admitted, adding, "When someone like Mishra gets stuck in for as long as he does, then you start to question the wicket.
"The wicket in this particular Test match, I felt, was very sub-continental."
Image: Andrew Strauss receives the ICC Test Championship Mace as England become the number one ranked team
Photographs: Getty Images
'Second new ball was going to be crucial'
England's captain, though, was quick to look at the positive side of it.
"It was fantastic to see the guys stuck to it, considering that first session wasn't easy. But we were creating many half chances, plenty of play and misses.
"We knew we had to be patient and the second new ball was going to be crucial," he said.
England were rewarded for their patience in the second session, as the last seven Indian wickets fell for just 21 runs.
"We were a little lucky to get that three-wicket burst before the second new ball," admitted Strauss, adding, "And then things happened very quickly for us.
"I think we did very well to keep with it and eventually got the rewards."
Image: Tim Bresnan celebrates after dismissing Sachin Tendulkar
'We had to dig deep'
The result took time to sink in, though.
"I think it was quite a fatigue. It has been four long Tests and we have put up a lot of effort.
"We had to work a lot harder to win this Test, having enforced the follow-on and coming out to bowl a second time. But I am happy with the efforts, of a few individuals in particular," he explained.
Asked to compare the win against the Ashes triumph a couple of years back, Strauss appeared very clear.
"In 2009, there was a bit of emotion as we went into it at 1-1 and no one knew what would be the result of the Test. Here we were motivated to make it 4-0.
"We had to dig deep but we knew we had it in us."
He refused to admit that an abject batting display by the Indians made it easy for England.
"Some very good batsmen have struggled against our bowlers," reasoned Strauss.
"I would say it was an outstanding bowling performance by us that led to the gradual erosion of the confidence of their batsmen," he added.
Image: Andrew Strauss celebrates after winning the match