England fought hard - Cook

Alastair Cook was finally dismissed for 176 on the final morning of the first Test

Alastair Cook was finally dismissed for 176 on the final morning of the first Test

First published in National Sport News © by

England captain Alastair Cook took comfort from the character his side showed in the second innings despite having gone down to a nine-wicket defeat in the first Test against India in Ahmedabad.

Cook (176) and Matt Prior (91) were dismissed on the final morning as England lost their last five wickets for only 50 in a lunchtime 406 all out. India made short work of their victory target of 77, easing home in just 15.3 overs. Cook knew he and Prior had to remain at the crease if England were to pull off something special.

He said: "There was an outside chance: Matty and I knew we would have to do the majority of the work. We got closer and closer and knew India had done a huge amount of overs in the field as well. That was the inspiration this morning. It wasn't meant to be. We didn't get that partnership going as we did last night. There was a lot of character showed by the lads. They fought hard."

Cook added: "It was a great fightback. We were in a very tough situation and to get to the last day there is always a glimmer of hope.

"It had to be something very special - unfortunately it wasn't meant to be today. We fought hard - we can take a lot from the second half of that game with the batting. We need to work hard so when we go to Mumbai we can start again."

India counterpart MS Dhoni said: "As the game progressed there was a bit of low bounce for spinners but not much turn so they had to work really hard - it was a fantastic effort by them.

"What was important was not to give many runs. A fantastic performance by the whole team."

Cheteshwar Pujara, who helped put India in a commanding position by scoring 206 not out in the first innings and then got the hosts over the line with an unbeaten second-innings knock of 41, was thrilled with his man-of-the-match display.

"It's a great feeling," he said at the post-match presentation, televised on Sky Sports 1.

"I was out for almost a year because of the injury and since I've been back I've been enjoying the dressing-room atmosphere. The ball was hard and coming nicely onto the bat. I had a lot of confidence after scoring a double hundred."

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