India v England, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 4th day November 26, 2012

Cook lauds England's character


Alastair Cook praised England's character after they produced one of their finest Test victories in recent memory to level the series against India with a 10-wicket success in Mumbai.

The win was all the more remarkable for coming off the back of the nine-wicket hammering they suffered in Ahmedabad last week when the pre-series predictions of England struggling to take wickets and battling against India's spinners came true. However, they have turned their fortunes around, overcoming the home side before lunch on the fourth day, to keep alive their chance of a first series victory in India since 1985.

"It was a tough week up in Ahmedabad and the character we have shown in the last three days has been fantastic," Cook said at the presentation. "I just can't fault the effort from the lads and the performance they have put in."

England also won the Test the hard way having lost the toss on a pitch seemingly tailor-made for India's spinners, yet they were comprehensively outbowled by Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann who combined for 19 wickets in the match with Panesar claiming a career-best 11 for 210.

When India fought their way to 327 on the second morning it was expected to be a very challenging total on a surface already gripping, but Kevin Pietersen produced arguably his finest Test innings, a scintillating 186, to secure a priceless lead of 86.

"It was an important toss, but the way we bowled on the first day was fantastic and then the way Kevin took the game away from India - to get an 80-run lead was vital," Cook said. "It was a fantastic innings and great to watch from the other end. We could almost have got more of a lead in the end. But the way Swanny and Monty bowled in the second innings when the pressure was on, to not let India get away, was fantastic."

When talking about his innings on the third evening, Pietersen was guarded in ranking its significance, well aware that the job was not quite finished for England. With victory completed he was more verbose but was just as quick to praise his team-mates.

"Now that we've won, probably at the top," he said of where the innings stands. "Yesterday I said it was a situation where we needed to win the Test match and hundreds feel a lot better when you win. Panesar and Swann were outstanding in the second innings, and Cooky didn't talk about himself but he's a magnificent cricketer. He'll break every England record. We came to Mumbai, trained hard and worked hard. There's a good united spirit in the dressing room."

For a couple of months at the end of England's home season that united dressing appeared a long way away but a working relationship has been restored and a matchwinning hundred will keep the process moving the right away.

"Thanks to the guys in the dressing room, the management, for sorting everything out," Pietersen said. "Every day you put on an England jersey is a special day and we are so privileged as England cricketers. The spectators that travel around with us are magnificent and we couldn't achieve things without them. Also the Indian support, it's been brilliant and long may that continue."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Inam on November 27, 2012, 1:47 GMT

    i am impressed with Cook batting, he is nightmare for the opposing team, he secures one end frustrate bowler, i have seen his batting in Ashes in AUS and here in India both test match, remarkable patience. His field placing was superb, If Monty was chosen for the 1st test match things could be different, It could be a drawn first test as could not imagine India scoring that freely with Swan and Monty operating. Cook and KP have shown how to play spin. It should be cracking two test matches.

  • C on November 27, 2012, 1:44 GMT

    Character certainly. This test was fraught with tension. Every ball could get a batsman out. How many times did the ball miss the edge of Cook and Kp.It needed character, determination and above all concentration to stay at the wicket. I said it before in my posts elsewhere, this test was taken away from us by the belligerance of KP. I saw him reverse sweep, scoop,step out and drive. For a player of his agression you also need a calming influence the other end. Cook did this admitrably by holding one end up. These knocks happen rarely , like VVS in Kolkata. In this test the ball fizzed , bounced, stung and spat. It was stressful for the arm chair watcher like me and I can only imagine what the players were going through. Guys, Virat Kohli got out to a rank full toss, a ball he would normally dispatch to the fence with the non chalance of swatting a fly. Yuvraj was so jumpy , tension was written all over his face. Thats where character steps in.

  • ian on November 26, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    The early signs are that Cook will make an outstanding captain. He seems unflappable & most certainly has played his part in KP's reintegration. KP's praise & respect for his captain has now gone on record - which was just what long-suffering England supporters wanted to hear after the squalls & spats of recent months. Monty too has deservedly seen his stock rise (thank heavens he wasn't found under a steepling catch!) & Swann has seen that Monty & he are complementary, not rivals for one spinner's berth, at least not in the subcontinent. I think we've seen the last of the one-spinner philosophy for the time being. So, from an Eng perspective, things are heading in the right direction. But the job's not done yet. There's an issue over #5: Bell or Bairstow? AF would favour IB, but I would want to make as few changes as poss for Kolkata & leave JB in place; he did little wrong & is on a learning curve while Bell is straightlining at a lowish level. Broad can be left out & Finn/Meaker in.

  • Randolph on November 26, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    I am a fan of Cook. Cook v. Clarke in next year's Ashes is going to be awesome. Of course both sides need to axe passengers such as Bell, Swann, Broad, Quiney, Hilfenhaus and Cowan.

  • John on November 26, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    Look at the guy and you think he's a pretty boy , scared of a bit of graft and wouldn't have the mental toughness. They say never judge a person by appearances - probably applicable here

  • Ashok on November 26, 2012, 21:25 GMT

    Congratularions on a great victory. Hats off to magnificient Leadership of Captain Cook! The way he first united the team with KP episode & all + got a disgruntled Panesar to produce his best, showed what a great leader can do. Cook led by example & must be the best opening batsman in Cricket today. He is a fine cricketer & a very humble one.While Cook is busy getting the best out of his team, Dhoni finds new excuses every day. Instead of finding why the team collapsed in the second innings, he is praising Panesarsè bowling. Yes Panesar bowled well but what did the Indian batsmen do - folding without a semblance of fight. This is about the 4th Test(in last 2 years) that the Indian team lost in under 4 days. A strong leadership which calls for commitment & accountability does not result in such lop sided defeats.Dhoni & his team need to ask themselves do they deserve to represent India with such poor batting & bowling. Take a page out of Cooks Team & learn to perform with grit + guts!

  • Sanjay on November 26, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    Great win. Cook, KP, Monty and Swann throwing in match winning performances.

  • Adeel on November 26, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    more you watch other players batting, more you admire KP innings. It was one of the finest knock, which i think could Richards, Lara could have have played. I don't think we ll see better innings of utter class from non sub continent player soon.

    Cook is share class as well! true test cricketer

  • j on November 26, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    No sports team in the world right now has the character that the English have. They lost their crown after a thrilling and close series between the world to top teams, and lost t deservedly through their form and fitness slipping. Now they've managed to claw that back in style, and showed all the world's flat-trackers how real batting happens. when you have o bat on a crumbling minefield. And all led by the world's best opening batsman in Cook.

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    The victory in Mumbai shows the character of this english side. Perhaps the best english test side touring to india in recent times. Hats off to these guys to lift themselves after the hammering at Ahmedabad to come back and win inside 4 days. Now its time for Mr. dhoni to stop blaming the pitch for recent failures in Englan and Australia and being so demanding for turning pitches in India. Mumbai was turning from day 1 but our spinners did not bowl well enough at all. Surely Dhoni's captainancy was also too defensive and his own batting form is a disaster.Dhoni should now concentrate on his as well as the teams performance and stop crying for helpful conditions. Also our beloved Sachin should now consider to retire as he is not at all looking like the sachin we have known for years.He is not getting any younger.His average in 2012 is in mid 20' s. Every King has a reign and one day he has to step down and perhaps its time for our beloved little master.

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