The heroic captain knew it was not enough and he knew where it had all gone wrong. Alastair Cook made 176 from 374 balls but it was a first innings that in total mustered only 15 runs more which sent England plummeting to defeat.
They suspended the fall in mid-air thanks to Cook and Matt Prior but crashed to earth soon enough, shortly after lunch. England are 1-0 down in a series of four and need swift recuperation.
“Clearly, when you get beaten by nine wickets, you have a look at a lot of areas – what we could have done better,” said Cook. “There will be a lot to ponder. Some thought and consideration will be made over the next couple of days.”
Later in his immediate post-match assessment, Cook reiterated something that his predecessor, Andrew Strauss, had been obliged to pronounce on frequently. It was a variation on the theme that they might all have been useless just now but they were jolly good really.
“There are a lot of quality players in that dressing room, with very good records who have scored hundreds against every attack in the world,” Cook said. “They didn’t deliver in this game, and they know that.
“You can look for reasons. Maybe we didn’t trust our method as well as we could have done. You can analyse a lot into batting. The middle order didn’t score enough runs. Everyone’s got to have a look at themselves if we want to take something out of this series.”
He hinted, mildly, that there might be change. With Ian Bell on paternity leave another batsmen will be needed. Given what has happened in the last few days several more batsmen may be invited to spend more time with their families. “Clearly we’re going to have to look at selection,” said Cook, not entirely dismissing that prospect. “There are some good people making decisions in this England team, and we thought we were doing the right thing for the side. The result showed that we might have got it wrong.”
Cook was bitterly disappointed with the result and thought England had an outside chance of forcing a draw at the start of play yesterday. As he said it needed him and Prior, not out overnight, to do the bulk of the work but they both fell in the first hour. “When you go to bed tonight, and you’ve scored a big hundred, you do smile and you can be proud,” he said. “But I’d have been even prouder if I’d survived today and dragged a draw out of it.”
Following the match a Twitter spat broke out between England bowler Stuart Broad and former all-rounder, now television pundit, Sir Ian Botham. Broad took to Twitter to apologise for the heavy defeat – and to take a swipe at “too many ex playing ‘experts’ being negative” in their analysis of the tourists and asked if “they ever won a Test series in India”?
Botham replied: “Didn’t average 40+ with the ball overseas...! Not sure what I scored against India with the bat? #just saying.”
India’s captain, MS Dhoni, seemed miffed about the pitch despite his side’s overwhelming victory. “I don’t even want to see this wicket,” he said. “There wasn’t enough turn and bounce for the spinners. The contribution of the fast bowlers was really important. They gave us the breakthrough when it was really needed. Hopefully in the coming matches we’ll see the wicket turn, right from start, or as soon as possible so that the toss doesn’t become vital.” You can take it as read that was an instruction to groundsmen.