India vs England

Match info: India v England Test Series 2012 at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium - 4th Test

Date: 17th Dec 2012 Status: Day 5 of 5 Umpires: H D P K Dharmasena and R J Tucker

Home team and score Away team score

India

326/9 Dec (143.0 Overs)

Result

England

330 All out (145.5 Overs)
352/4 Dec (154.0 Overs)

Match Drawn

  • Last Updated: December 17 2012, 16:00 GMT

Post-match reaction to the drawn fourth Test between India and England in Nagpur.

Cook hails 'special' series win

England captain Alastair Cook rated his side's historic 2-1 Test series win in India every bit as special as their 2010-11 Ashes success in Australia.

Cook led his team to a victory, in his first tour as permanent Test captain, which many thought was beyond them.

In fact, after a nine-wicket defeat in the first Test in Ahmedabad, Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan was among a vast majority - experts and otherwise - predicting a 4-0 defeat.

However, Cook's team fought back with successive victories in Mumbai and Kolkata then, thanks to centurions Jonathan Trott (143) and Ian Bell (116 not out), they finished the job with a series-clinching draw in Nagpur.

Cook led from the front throughout, including a defiant 176 in that initial defeat and then a big century too in each of the next two Tests.

But it was after watching Trott and Bell combine so relentlessly to keep India at bay for more than 150 overs in England's second-innings 352 for four declared today that Cook naturally felt the greatest sense of satisfaction.

"I think it's on a par with the Ashes," he said, having scored a mountain of runs both then and now.

Success in Australia came after a wait of almost a quarter of a century. Success in India was the first since 1984-5.

"As an Englishman, winning in Australia after so long meant a huge amount," Cook added. "But in that dressing room there for that last half an hour, knowing what we had achieved, it was a very special place and it will live long in my memory."

England always professed public belief that they could overturn history and refute perceived wisdom of their surefire failings on the sub-continent.

Cook admits nonetheless that, after their nine-wicket defeat in Ahmedabad, they needed to convince themselves as well that they could succeed here.

"Of course there was doubt," he added. "There is always doubt, especially after halfway through day two when we were getting rolled.

"I was surprised at the level we managed to achieve so soon after Ahmedabad.

"I was talking (there) about playing to our potential, but I was surprised we managed to do it straight away and put all those doubts to bed and prove it to ourselves."

Cook's runs could not salvage a first-Test draw, but they did show his team-mates what was possible.

"When you go to bed at night realising you can play out here, that is a very encouraging thing," he added.

"After that second innings in Ahmedabad we thought 'Yes, we can score runs out here'.

"As I said then, if we could play close to our potential as a side we had a chance of winning a game and we did that.

"Then we backed it up in Kolkata and in this game we continued in that form.

"It was about transferring what we've been practising and working on out in the middle and trusting our ability to do that, especially with the bat.

"The lads really stood up in those three games with the bat and we know what a quality bowling attack we had, we have proven that over a number of years."

It fell to Warwickshire pair Trott and Bell to finish the job.

"It has been an incredible tour and to end it today and how convincingly we managed to bat out (was great)," Cook added.

"It was obviously a pretty nervy dressing room for the last 140 overs, knowing how close we were to something very special.

"But we went out and did it convincingly, especially obviously Trotty and Belly today, who were a very calming influence.

"I can't praise the guys enough, the whole squad. Everyone has contributed and the willingness to learn and to front up to what is a very tough challenge out here was fantastic."

Spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar took 19 wickets between them in Mumbai, where Kevin Pietersen's wonderful 186 helped Cook lay the foundation for victory.

All along, lynchpin seamer James Anderson - man of the match in the final Test for his four wickets - has been a paragon of discipline and supreme reverse-swing skill.

Cook was grateful to them all, adding: "(There was) Monty coming in, Jimmy outstanding with the reversing ball and Swanny the leading wicket taker. Those three were fantastic.

"Clearly we got it wrong in Ahmedabad in not playing Monty, but when we put it right he has been outstanding.

"What was it, 50 overs for 80 yesterday? He's a captain's dream. You just throw him the ball and you know he's going to be there or thereabouts."

Above all, though, it has been a collective effort and a learning curve for the tourists.

"We took a big hit in Ahmedabad and we looked at ourselves and we tried to turn it round," Cook said. "We have to give ourselves a lot of credit for the way we played."

Anderson was awarded the man of the match award after taking four for 81 in India's first innings and finishing with 12 wickets in the series.

He came into his own during the third and fourth Tests by mastering reverse-swing after a relatively quiet start in India.

The 30-year-old always believed he would have a key part to play, refusing to rely on the spinners who normally prosper on the sub-continent.

"When we come over here, people think that spinners are going to get all the wickets but we knew that the seamers had a job to do over here," he said.

"We really wanted to show people we can do a job here and I really think we have.

"I've bowled better than I have before. Reverse-swing has been a key part of us doing well.

"We've really practised it in the nets and in the games we've had leading up to the series. I think we executed our plans really well in the game."

Anderson also profited from bowling shorter spells.

"You're only going to bowl three or four overs in a spell so being able to give it everything, it really helps you and you also get quite a long rest with the spinners we've got as well," he added.

Meanwhile, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni hopes master batsman Sachin Tendulkar will continue his Test career.

Veteran Tendulkar mustered only 112 runs in six innings in the 2-1 loss and, at 39, it is obvious he is already in the twilight of his great career.

Asked whether he expects to see Tendulkar play Test cricket again, Dhoni said: "I hope so."

But pressed as to whether Tendulkar has told him he will, he said: "No."

With or without Tendulkar, India must pick themselves up from a disappointing campaign for forthcoming limited-overs series against Pakistan and then England, before they face Australia in Tests.

"They are a very well balanced side, the two spinners they have are very good," Dhoni said of England.

"Anderson bowled really well throughout the series on wickets where there wasn't much help for the fast bowlers.

"That was really crucial. He tested the batsmen all the time and kept them guessing. I thought the major difference between the two sides was James Anderson."

Dhoni's team, and perhaps coach Duncan Fletcher, are sure to face a storm of criticism for their failure on home soil.

But the captain will not be getting things out of proportion.

"Sure, it has been tough," he said. "But there are not many things that come close to what we went through when we lost in the 2007 World Cup, I don't think it's even close to that.

"We are going through a tough time and a stage where we will have to see what really works for us.

"If you don't give youngsters chances, how do you know whether they are good enough or not?

"They won't all get big hundreds in the very first game they play. Some of the very best players did not start off really well; some even scored four or five zeros and then turned out to be very good Test players.

"It's difficult to replace Rahul Dravid or Sachin Tendulkar or VVS Laxman ... you have to back young players and give them a chance to prove themselves.

"We have a few big players who have left us, which means the youngsters will have to fill in the gaps and the seniors will have to take extra responsibility until the juniors start making runs and taking wickets."

India needed to win the final Test to level the series, but found themselves playing on a uniquely paceless surface tailor-made for the stalemate which gave England the series.

"We bowled for 10 hours and we got three batsmen out," Dhoni said.

"You can't just sit there and say we need to be aggressive. Aggression is not just about setting a silly-point or short-leg, or having a slip; you have to analyse where you can get a batsman out on a wicket like that.

"It's very difficult to make a good wicket in the sub-continent. They tried, but it's very tricky."


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