England will learn lessons says Pietersen
Tuesday 23 December 2008
England captain Kevin Pietersen admitted his side had "a lot to learn" from the tour of India after salvaging a draw in today's final Test.
England successfully battled to draw against India but still slipped to their fifth defeat in the last eight Test series.
Set an unlikely victory target of 403 in a minimum of 43 overs during a weather-hit final day at the PCA Stadium, the two sides shook hands on the draw with 15 overs remaining after England reached 64 for one.
It provided a moral victory for the tourists, who successfully denied India the 2-0 series triumph which was widely predicted when England took the decision to resume the tour despite the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
"It's been a good tour. We've got a lot to learn from this tour of India," Pietersen said.
"We've enjoyed ourselves, obviously making the decision to come back and play in the Test matches, everyone's been very hospitable. We've enjoyed our time back here in Chennai."
When asked what he would take from the Tour, Pietersen answered: "The way the guys have performed, the way the guys have trained, the way the guys prepared and the way the guys have played means we got into position to try to win the first Test match and got ourselves into a position to try to push for a Test match victory.
"We've got to take our hats off and say congratulations to India for a fantastic tour. They've played some fantastic cricket and then thank everybody for their hospitality."
The England captain also had words of praise for India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, who was labelled a "pie-chucker" by Pietersen on Sunday.
He said: "We got ourselves back in a position to win the Test match, the first one, and obviously we fought really hard yesterday afternoon but then unfortunately Yuvraj got to play real well last night and then again this morning and we missed out again."
He added:" I'm just really proud to be captain of bunch of lads who jumped on plane to come here and play some really good cricket.
"They've concentrated solely on their cricket, they've enjoyed their cricket, they've played with smiles on their faces and you can't ask for anything more."
India captain MS Dhoni hailed his side's strong team effort throughout the series.
Dhoni said: "The conditions at Chennai and Mohali were tough for the fast bowlers but they took responsibility when needed.
"And the batsmen, whenever we needed a big partnership there was one.
"There were situations where we lost a few wickets but someone stood up and said, 'I'll be the person that takes the team through'. So, a very good team effort."
India's series victory lifts them up to second in the International Cricket Council's world rankings but Dhoni played down talk of them eventually taking over top spot.
He added: "We are just concentrating on preparation and execution of plans. Whatever comes we will take it with an open heart.
"Whether we are top of the chart, third or fourth position doesn't matter. We are enjoying the cricket we are playing. We are backing each other and enjoying each other's success. That is what is important."
England coach Peter Moores paid tribute to India and felt his side would learn lessons from the series defeat.
He told Sky Sports 1: "Full credit to India, they played well first innings. I thought we bowled much better here than we did in the last Test.
"We learned quite a lot from that Test match but (Gautam) Gambhir and (Rahul) Dravid put that fantastic partnership together which made it that India couldn't really lose the game."
Moores had no regrets over the decision to return to India for the Test series after a week back at home following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
He added: "We made our statement as a team and I think it is the right one.
"Since we have been here it has felt very secure. It is a great place to play and everybody has learned a huge amount.
"There have been some quite tough lessons. We have got to take them away, improve ourselves and come back in the West Indies after Christmas and move it forward.
"It was definitely worth coming here. We have learned something, there has been some good cricket played and we move on to the challenges of 2009."
Moores admitted England let a big opportunity slip in the first Test in Chennai last week.
He said: "The intent was there to try to push the score on Chennai, we didn't do it. We had a fantastic opportunity to win a Test and bowl them out but we didn't take it.
"With hindsight we will look back and think there were different options we might have taken but credit to India, it was a fantastic run chase."
Player of the series, Zaheer Khan, lamented the match being stopped at a draw, and believed India could have gone on to take the series 2-0.
"It would have been nice to get the full game here, it would have been an exciting game here at Chennai," he said.
"So you know we could have finished the game in same manner with the way we were bowling.
"It was unfortunate that it was sunny like it was today, as we didn't actually get to bowl in the first session, so maybe I would have enjoyed that."
Zaheer also added the result capped off a great year for cricket in India.
"I must say that the atmosphere in the squad is amazing and we're enjoying each other's company and each other's success," he continued.
"We have four batsmen who have scored more than 1000 runs and we're working well as a bowling unit.
"It's been a great year for Indian cricket and we're enjoying every bit of it."
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