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India v England, 2nd Test, Mohali, 5th day
Lloyd: India are the No.1 Test team
December 23, 2008
After the excitement of Chennai, Mohali turned out to be an anti-climax, but India are deserving winners
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'Mahendra Singh Dhoni has emerged superior in what was viewed as a head to head between him and Kevin Pietersen in terms of captaincy in this series' © AFP

David Lloyd: On day five - just looking back on this series - India have deservedly come out on top. It has been a short series but England have played their part in making this a memorable time for the people of India in what has been such a tough period for them. The home nation dominated the ODI series but the Mumbai atrocities cast a dark shadow over cricket. England, after much heart-searching, returned for the Tests and that turned out to be a great decision for the people of India.

The Chennai Test deserved something special and the script was played out perfectly. England dominated the game for long periods and Andrew Strauss was outstanding. India were set 387 to win and Virender Sehwag, with only a victory in his mind, set about England with a blistering, ferocious attack. The crowd swelled to 40000 on the last day as Sachin Tendulkar gave a batting exhibition and also coaxed the lively Yuvraj Singh through his innings. India won a fantastic, emotional game and as it turned out, Mohali, with all the fog, was an anti-climax. In Mohali, just for the record, the Man of the Match was Gautam Gambhir and the Man of the Series - deservedly - was Zaheer Khan.

So what can we gather from this series? Kevin Pietersen scored a century and let us not forget that this is only his third Test [as captain]. He will learn from this. Zaheer has been outstanding throughout. Andrew Flintoff, of course, was lion-hearted. Rahul Dravid got back to form and Gautam Gambhir announced himself on the world-stage. Also, Yuvraj has claimed that No. 6 spot in India's Test line-up as his own, after the retirement of Sourav Ganguly.

In terms of captaincy, this was a head-to-head between Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who you could say is the idol of Indian cricket, and Pietersen, the belligerent, world-class player in England's middle-order. India were at pains to point out that this was a team effort led by Dhoni. He has said that he wants everybody to enjoy each other's success and I think that has been clear to see. Pietersen had his problems in Chennai in getting his fields right and coupled with that, his bowlers didn't bowl very well for him. 387 was a lot to get at Chennai so India deserved that victory so there's not too much that can be taken into Pietersen's captaincy. He would have definitely learnt from this experience but overall, Dhoni - with Zaheer and Harbhajan Singh at his disposal - has got the best out of his team.

But there was a sense here at Mohali that Chennai was the main focus for both teams. The game petered out into a draw on day five but I don't think it mattered to anyone. At the end of the day in this series India have been the better team and in my opinion are the best team in the world in Tests at the moment. England have played their part and can only learn from their Indian experience. But they do have to start getting results back together again.

May I wish you all a very happy New Year and a prosperous and healthy one at that.

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