Cook hails 'great' England performance
Alastair Cook has praised the work of his bowling attack after England went 2-1 up in the series with a seven-wicket victory against India on the final morning in Kolkata.
Having been made to wait by R Ashwin's impressive batting on the fourth evening, England wrapped up back-to-back wins less than an hour into Sunday's action although they did slip to 8 for 3 as they chased down 41.
But from the moment England hustled through India's brittle batting order between lunch and tea yesterday the result was never in doubt. Unlike in Mumbai, where's England's 10-wicket win was the product of four outstanding contributions - Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar - this victory was more of a collective.
Cook again led the way with his 190 but this time there were important batting contributions from Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott, plus cameos from Samit Patel and Matt Prior, while the quick bowlers had a major impact on the match. James Anderson, finding substantial reverse swing, took six wickets and Steven Finn produced some outstanding spells, especially on the fourth day, during his return to the side.
"It was a great performance level for four and a half days," Cook said. "Everyone performed from one to 11 and that's what you need in these conditions. Our bowlers, on the first day, to keep India to 300 on that wicket was a fantastic effort.
"And after the start they got to get six wickets in that session yesterday really won us the game. It was a credit to the hard work they've put in that they can perform in these conditions."
Cook took the Man-of-the-Match award for his third hundred of the series, making it five tons in five matches as Test captain, as he became England's leading century maker and the youngest batsman to pass 7,000 Test runs. Yet he remained modest about his achievement and focused on the final Test in Nagpur which starts Thursday.
"I've been hitting the ball all right on this tour," he said. "It's nice to contribute to the team's success. To score runs here you've got to bat a long period of time. I had a bit of luck on and I managed to cash in."
"We'll never be complacent," he added. "We're not going to Nagpur to make up the numbers - we're going to try and win a Test match, which we know we can do."