Cook praise for Pietersen

Alastair Cook, pictured, hailed the performance of Kevin Pietersen

Alastair Cook, pictured, hailed the performance of Kevin Pietersen

First published in National Sport News © by

Alastair Cook put in much of the spadework himself to help level the Test series against India - but he knows who did even more to turn an "incredible" contest England's way.

On the back of Kevin Pietersen's brilliant 186 and Cook's fourth successive century in as many matches as England Test captain, Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann exploited a spinners' pitch expertly for a 10-wicket victory in little more than three days at the Wankhede Stadium.

"There are not many people in the world who could do what Kev did," Cook said. "It was the difference between the two teams. He took the game away from India."

Without Pietersen, England might easily have lost, even accounting for Cook's admirable contribution as each took their century tally to 22.

Cook, however, also emphasised collective resilience - after England's emphatic defeat in Ahmedabad last week - as a telling factor, adding: "It's been an incredible three-and-a-half days from the lads - with the character we have shown from last week.

"We could have let our heads drop down but we came here, worked as hard as we could in the nets and we took that belief and form we needed into the game. That is as good a game as I have been involved in for England."

If Pietersen and Cook outbatted their opponents, Panesar in particular outbowled India, finishing with a career-best 11 wickets in the match, while Swann picked up eight.

"The way Swanny and Monty bowled, under pressure to perform, was fantastic - especially because we didn't want to be chasing a lot on that wicket," said Cook, who was joined by Nick Compton to knock off the 57 runs England needed in under 10 overs.

England have demonstrated, after a series of hapless innings against sub-continental spin, that they can deal with it after all.

"It was a tough dressing room to be in, with people talking about us playing spin, but to turn it around so quickly proves the work we have done is the right work," Cook added.

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