The partnership between Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell calmed any England nerves © BCCI
Report : England end 28-year wait for win in India
Players/Officials: Alastair Cook
Matches: India v England at Nagpur
Series/Tournaments: England tour of India
Alastair Cook left the presentation in Nagpur overladen with trophies after England completed their first series win in India for 28 years.
Not just one series trophy but two, plus individual recognition as man of the series, completed a perfect start to Cook’s England Test captaincy.
Add his unofficial stint as Test captain in Bangladesh when he stood in for Andrew Strauss and he has already twice led England to victories in subcontinent conditions which they have often found so alien.
“It is obviously a very special day; a special tour,” he said. “We will have great memories. It’s an incredible achievement.
“After the first Test it would be easy to let our heads drop but when we realised it was a result-wicket in Mumbai that gave us a lift.”
England’s celebrations were a world away from their misery in Ahmedabad less than a month ago when they were beaten by an innings in the opening Test; their frailties against spin again apparent.
Since then, Cook has taken particular pride in England’s ability to adapt to whatever conditions have been thrown at them. His own run tally of 568 in the series set the example with the bat as England conquered India’s spinners and also unveiled two superior slow bowlers themselves in Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann.
“We have played on four very different wickets,” Cook said. “We didn’t handle the Ahmedabad wicket so well, but the other three wickets were all very different in subcontinent style. Everyone in this squad can be proud of what they achieved, especially the way we bounced back after the heavy defeat in Ahmedabad.”
Nagpur was the oddest test of all, a pitch that was strikingly slow and uneven at the start and which gradually became more docile, a perfect surface for an England side prepared to bat with discipline to avoid defeat and so win the series.
“We were slightly surprised by the pitch at the start, how low and slow it was,” Cook said. “We thought it would get worse but actually it got better. We knew when we were batting in the second innings it was going to be very hard for India to take those wickets and if we applied ourselves with not too many soft dismissals it would be very hard to bowl us out.”
England’s authority on the final day was unshakeable as the Warwickshire pair of Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell took their fourth-wicket stand to 208 in 79 overs before the sides shook hands on a draw with England 352 for 4 and celebratory hugs broke out on the England balcony.
“I can’t credit the batters enough for fronting up and taking on that challenge,” Cook said. “Normally there are a few nerves on day like this but the calm way that Trotty and Belly batted was just fantastic.”