England skipper Alastair Cook today praised the efforts of his team’s senior members for their contribution in the 266-run victory over India in the third Test here.
The seniors received a lot of a flak after England lost the second Test at Lord’s on a green top, but they came back strongly in the third game with Cook scoring two fifties, Ian Bell getting a century and James Anderson taking his 16th five-wicket haul in Test cricket, to help the hosts level the five-match series 1-1 in an emphatic fashion.
“The guys who were questioned really delivered. It’s great to see Ian Bell score a big hundred. When you set the game up like we did, you get ahead of the game and can dictate it. The weight on me is lifted,” said Cook at the post-match press conference.
“Certainly if I’d scored nought and five, and we’d lost the game, it would have been a whole lot different. As I said at Lord’s, I felt I’d turned the corner there and under that sort of pressure, the first innings’ fifty meant a lot,” he added.
Cook said his team was determined to turn the tables.
“We were relentless in this game. We never let India off the hook, we kept them under pressure and it takes a lot of skill and determination to do that. We did not let up.
“We have been playing to our potential for some time. This summer we’ve played good cricket for one or two sessions out of three every day. But here, when we were bowling, we’ve managed to keep that pressure for the whole session. And with the bat we got greedy – that set up the game,” said Cook.
“We had as good a game as we could have had. Now everyone knows what it is like, the challenge is to repeat it at Old Trafford and try and win the series,” he insisted.
The captain was also all praise for the youngsters in the side, particularly Gary Ballance, as England achieved their first Test win in 11 matches.
“For the guys who experienced a Test win for the first time, it was amazing. Ballance ran to collect the stump and I had forgotten they did not know what it was like to win a Test. The important thing is we back it up and take it on to Old Trafford,” said Cook.