sport

Cook hails landmark success

Captain Alastair Cook savoured a "very special" series win after England triumphed in India for the first time in almost 28 years.

Centuries from Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell secured a draw in the fourth Test in Nagpur and a 2-1 win in the series.

Cook told Sky Sports 1: "It's a very special day for us, it's been a special tour and we'll have great memories.

"Today was a fantastic effort by Trotty and Belly. All right, it was a flat pitch, but how calmly they batted was fantastic.

"We were slightly surprised how low and slow the pitch was, and it got better as the game went on.

"We knew when we batted in the second innings we had to make it very hard to take those wickets so credit to our batsmen for fronting up and taking on that challenge."

The series success was all the more impressive after a heavy nine-wicket defeat in the first Test in Ahmedabad, which prompted widespread forecasts of a 4-0 series whitewash in the hosts' favour.

"We didn't handle the Ahmedabad wicket as well but the others were all very different and we adapted well," said Cook.

"The bowlers have been brilliant and our batters have contributed big runs. Everyone in the squad can be very proud, especially after Ahmedabad and that heavy defeat.

"The guys who played a couple of games all made a difference and the amount of effort the guys have put in for me, I can't ask any more.

"It's always nice when it goes well but I can't praise the team enough. And the support we've had everywhere we've gone, not just from the Barmy Army but also the Indian public, has been fantastic."

James Anderson was awarded the man of the match award after taking four for 81 in India's first innings and finished with 12 wickets in the series.

He came into his own during the third and fourth Tests by mastering

reverse-swing after a relatively quiet start in India.

The 30-year-old always believed he would have a key part to play, refusing to rely on the spinners who normally prosper on the sub-continent.

"When we come over here, people think that spinners are going to get all the wickets but we knew that the seamers had a job to do over here,'' he said.

"We really wanted to show people we can do a job here and I really think we have.

"I've bowled better than I have before. Reverse-swing has been a key part of us doing well.

"We've really practised it in the nets and in the games we've had leading up to the series. I think we executed our plans really well in the game.''

Anderson also profited from bowling shorter spells.

"You're only going to bowl three or four overs in a spell so being able to

give it everything, it really helps you and you also get quite a long rest with the spinners we've got as well,'' he added.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted his side's poor batting at times had let them down, but was quick to hail Anderson.

"I think we struggled in the batting department but the difference between the two bowling sides was James Anderson,'' he said.

"He bowled really well. He was someone who was testing the batsman quite often.''

The lifeless pitch in Nagpur attracted some criticism from all quarters and Dhoni acknowledged it did not suit either side.

"There was not much really for the fast bowlers or the spinners,'' he added.

"It was difficult to score runs but if you kept your head down it was

difficult to get the batsmen out.''