England hold heads high after tour of redemption

India 453 & 251-7dec England 302 & 64-1 (Match drawn; India win series 1-0)

In the end it was slightly inevitable that this much-debated Test series should end in such a tedious and low-key manner. In the build-up, greater attention had been paid to the safety and security of the players than the quality of cricket being played, and it would have been gluttonous to expect a repeat of the first Test in Chennai, where nearly all the fireworks, emotion and energy were seen.

The draw consigned England to a 1-0 series defeat, a result that means they have now lost five consecutive series to teams placed above them in the Test rankings. These are the type of statistics that do not suggest Kevin Pietersen's side are making progress. The only comfort, with the Ashes only two Test series against the West Indies away, is that Australia are in a similar, if not worse, run of form.

But it would be unfair to be too critical of Pietersen's side. The England team entered the series amid a unique set of circumstances and they performed far better than many could have imagined. India are undoubtedly a superior side to England, and there is no disgrace in being beaten by a Sachin Tendulkar hundred, especially when he considers it one of his best.

At the start of the tour Pietersen insisted that he would make no excuses and he was true to his word. But the terrible events of Mumbai did deprive England of any worthwhile practice before the first Test. Indeed, Andrew Strauss, Monty Panesar and Stephen Harmison entered the match having not played a meaningful game of cricket since September.

Despite these hindrances England performed remarkably well, competing hard against a top outfit arguably playing the best cricket in the world. There were several times in each Test when England could have wilted but they continued to fight and they can leave India with their heads held high. Australia may be on a downward spiral but they are no mugs, and it should not be forgotten that Ricky Ponting's well-prepared side were totally outplayed by India in three of the four Tests they recently played here. But for Tendulkar and the irrepressible Virender Sehwag, England would probably have produced one of Test cricket's most remarkable turnarounds.

But there was far more than a series at stake here. Had England not returned it would have had serious implications for the game. Cricket needs India, not just for the money it brings in but because its supporters are the most passionate in the world. Compared to other sports cricket is small, being played to a reasonable level by fewer than a dozen countries. Two of those destinations – Pakistan and Zimbabwe – are currently out of bounds, and were India to be looked at in the same light – well, it does not bear thinking about.

But it was safety and security, and not Indian Premier League contracts, that decided whether Pietersen's side would return. And the game can be thankful they did. If teams do not travel when security assurances have been given there might be a split between Asia and the rest of the world. International cricket might come to a halt.

For the third consecutive morning a pea-soup fog delayed the start of play, this time for two-and-a-half hours. There was a feeling that cricket could have been played earlier but neither side seemed particularly enthused about performing their craft.

Yet when the players finally emerged the action, if you were an Indian fan, was magnificent. Yuvraj Singh continued in limited-over mode, smashing the ball to all corners of the ground, and Gautam Gambhir joined in, too.

Yuvraj struck three further sixes in his 86, and each was a stunning shot. James Anderson was clipped effortlessly over the midwicket boundary and Stuart Broad hit for successive maximums. The first was a left handed, tennis-serve swipe at a bouncer that flew over long on, and it was followed by a huge drive over extra cover. Broad is becoming used to getting flogged by Yuvraj; it was he who smashed him for six sixes in an over during the 2007 World Twenty20.

With India's lead of 367 at lunch a declaration seemed imminent but Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to continue batting after the interval. Dhoni's decision will have been influenced by wanting to offer Yuvraj the chance to score a hundred in his home city, and Gambhir the opportunity to become the third Indian to score a hundred in each innings of a Test.

With 55 overs of the game remaining, he also knew that in short run chases the advantage lies with the batting side and he did not want to give England even the slightest sniff of a chance.

Ironically, both batsmen failed. Yuvraj became the third Indian batsman to be run out when an Ian Bell throw from short fine leg hit the stumps. Gambhir fell three runs short of reaching his landmark when he cut Graeme Swann to backward point. His dismissal for 97 forced Dhoni, who had earlier fallen tamely to Monty Panesar for nought, to declare leaving England requiring 403 in 43 overs.

Alastair Cook edged Ishant Sharma to second slip in the eighth over of England's reply but there was never any possibility of defeat. Strauss and Bell comfortably survived the next 20 overs, taking England's score to 64 for 1. Bell scored an unbeaten 24 but the innings should not influence the England selectors who will be announcing their touring squad for the West Indies in five days' time.

The game ended on an amusing, if slightly farcical, note with Dhoni bowling the final over. The Test may not have been a classic but Dhoni's over ensured the players and crowd finished with a smile on their faces. For that, and England's willingness to return to India, cricket should be grateful.

Winners and Losers: The England players who thrived – and those whose form dived

Winners

Andrew Strauss The England opener knew this was an important tour for him. By scoring a hundred in each innings of the first Test in Chennai he removed any doubts.

Graeme Swann Has impressed everyone with the way he has dealt with Test cricket. In the two Tests here he has out-bowled fellow spinner Monty Panesar. The selectors have a tricky decision to make in the Caribbean.

Kevin Pietersen The role Pietersen played in getting England to return to India is yet to be revealed but, publicly, the England captain has handled the affair brilliantly. By scoring a superb hundred in Mohali he proved that he could handle the dual responsibilities.

Losers

Ian Bell Will nervously await the announcement of the squad for the West Indies on 29 December. Owais Shah is favourite to replace him, but Michael Vaughan cannot be ruled out.

Monty Panesar Travelled to India as England's premier spinner but he can no longer take that position for granted. India's batsmen targeted him and ruthlessly exposed his lack of confidence. By the end, he looked a forlorn figure.

Stephen Harmison Where do the England selectors go with their spearhead? Pietersen dropped him from the one-day side two games into the winter and after one Test. Harmison's threat will no doubt win him a place in the Caribbean, but who knows how he will perform?

Mohali scoreboard

Final day of five; India won toss

India – First Innings 453 (G Gambhir 179, R Dravid 136).

England – First Innings 302 (K P Pietersen 144).

India – Second Innings (Overnight: 134 for 4)

G Gambhir c Bell b Swann 97

331 min, 229 balls, 6 fours

V V S Laxman run out (Flintoff-Prior TV replay) 15

80 min, 49 balls, 2 fours

Yuvraj Singh run out (Bell TV replay) 86

135 min, 93 balls, 6 fours, 4 sixes

*†M S Dhoni c and b Panesar 0

5 min, 2 balls

Harbhajan Singh not out 5

11 min, 10 balls, 1 four

Extras (b10 lb8 w5 nb3) 26

Total (for 7 dec, 331 min, 73 overs) 251

Fall: 1-30 (Sehwag) 2-36 (Dravid) 3-44 (Tendulkar) 4-80 (Laxman) 5-233 (Yuvraj Singh) 6-241 (Dhoni) 7-251 (Gambhir).

Did not bat: Zaheer Khan, A Mishra, I Sharma.

Bowling: Anderson 19-8-51-1 (7-4-23-0, 8-4-9-1, 4-0-19-0); Broad 14-2-50-1 (w4) (9-1-18-1, 2-1-4-0, 3-0-28-0); Flintoff 13-1-39-0 (nb3, w1) (5-1-7-0, 4-0-9-0, 4-0-23-0); Swann 17-3-49-1 (5-2-6-0, 2-0-9-0, 4-0-16-0, 6-1-18-1); Panesar 10-0-44-1 (7-0-37-0, 3-0-7-1).

Progress: Fifth day: fog delayed start until 11am. 150: 252 min, 54.4 overs. 200: 280 min, 60.5 overs. Lunch: 216-4 (Gambhir 80, Yuvraj Singh 79) 63 overs. 250: 328 min, 71.4 overs. Declaration: 1.46pm.

England – Second Innings

A J Strauss not out 21

107 min, 83 balls, 1 four

A N Cook c Laxman b Sharma 10

34 min, 19 balls, 1 four

I R Bell not out 24

72 min, 70 balls, 2 fours

Extras (b4 w1 nb4) 9

Total (for 1, 107 min, 28 overs) 64

Fall: 1-18 (Cook).

Did not bat: *K P Pietersen, P D Collingwood, A Flintoff, †M J Prior, S C J Broad, G P Swann, J M Anderson, M S Panesar.

Bowling: Zaheer Khan 3-0-11-0; Sharma 5-1-7-1 (nb1, w1); Harbhajan Singh 11-3-25-0 (nb1); Mishra 8-1-16-0 (nb2); Dhoni 1-0-1-0.

Progress: Fifth day: Tea: 31-1 (Strauss 6, Bell 8) 13 overs. 50: 86 min, 20.4 overs. Match drawn. India win two-Test series 1-0.

Man of the match: G Gambhir.

Man of the series: Zaheer Khan.

Umpires: Asad Rauf (Pak) and D J Harper (Aus).

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments