As England achieve a dramatic test series victory over India for the first time in 27 years, captain Alastair Cook says his team “can be very proud”.
Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell played vital roles in the win in Nagpur, with both scoring centuries on the final day of the series.
The last time England’s cricketers won a test series in India in 1984-85, Alastair Cook was only weeks old.
Trott (143 runs) and Bell (116, not out) helped their side to 352 for four, making a second Indian innings unnecessary.
It was an achievement that was almost unimaginable after the first test in Ahmedabad, when England slumped to a nine-wicket defeat.
Their fightback began in Mumbai, led by the batting of Cook and Kevin Pietersen and the spin bowling of Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann.
Cook told Sky Sports: “We didn’t handle the Ahmedabad wicket as well, but the others were all very different and we adapted well.
“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.”
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.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted his side’s poor batting at times had let them down, but was quick to praise 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.”
Everyone in the squad can be very proud, especially after Ahmedabad and that heavy defeat. Alastair Cook, England captain
It is the perfect end to a year in which England have been defeated in seven of 15 tests and lost their position at the top of the International Cricket Council rankings.
There was also relief for Trott in a five-hour innings, after his ducks in Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
His stand came to an end when he was caught at leg-slip off Ravichandran Ashwin from the 310th delivery he faced.
He and Bell had joined forces when England were looking vulnerable on 94 for three, but their batting heroics helped the team to the draw they needed to win the series.
The last time this happened, there was also a wobbly start, with the side losing by eight wickets in the first test in Mumbai.
They then went on to win comfortably in Delhi, draw in Kolkata and inflict a heavy nine-wicket defeat on their Indian hosts in Chennai.
The final act, under David Gower’s captaincy, was a draw in Kanpur – enough to hand England the series.
Victory this time will help inspire England as they look ahead to next summer’s Ashes series against Australia.
In January 2011, with Andrew Strauss at the helm, they celebrated their first series win in Australia for 24 years.
They were indebted to Cook, who achieved 766 runs, the second highest tally by an England batsman in an Ashes series.