Chasing a record target in a dead rubber may not be a tailor-made fascinating end script, but creating an opportunity of a respectful 2-3 series sign off and then squandering it with bad shot selections to self-inflict a 1-4 misery only accentuates India's perennial propensity to collapse at the last hurdle.
India had the opportunity to rewrite history and chase down a record breaking 464 runs in the fourth innings of a Test match with a 200+ sixth wicket partnership between opener K L Rahul and youngster Rishabh Pant.
At 320+ runs and with nearly 140 odd runs to chase in 27 overs, India were on top and looked like on course for an anti climax victory but a ball of the century -- not by Shane Warne but Adil Rashid -- pitching well outside the leg stump and taking a well set Rahul's off stump scripted another twist in the tale.
The Oval test will be remembered as former England skipper Alaister Cook's fairytale farewell with a century in his last ever international innings, which was preceded by a half-century in the first innings. Only four cricketers in history had scored a century on debut and in their final essay as Cook became the highest run getter among southpaws and fifth overall.
The match ended with James Anderson overtaking Glen McGrath to become the highest fast bowling wicket taker as records tumbled one after another.
Many may argue that India probably did not deserve a 1-4 series hammering but that's how things pan out when a visiting team miss opportunities when they come their way and clinch defeat from the jaws of victory.
But it was a great advertisement for Test cricket with result in all 5 Test matches. India can take some heart from the fact that barring Lord's Test match they were in the series in all the other 4 matches.
In the end, India's position as numero uno as top Test ranking may not be affected but its image as the world's best has taken a severe beating with its famed batting line up brutally exposed and open for scrutiny.