LONDON, Aug 17 (Reuters) - England captain Alastair Cook paid tribute to his team’s character after they crushed India by an innings and 244 runs in the fifth test on Sunday to win the series 3-1.
England fell 1-0 behind after losing the second test at Lord‘s, their 10th successive test without a victory, before winning the next three matches by emphatic margins to complete a remarkable revival.
“It was an amazing turnaround after Lord‘s, the players and the new coaching staff have made a lot of difference,” Cook said at the presentation ceremony.
”India crumbled at the end but that was from the relentless pressure. The first day at Southampton was good, Gary (Ballance) getting a big hundred and Ian Bell following on the next day.
”In both the next two games, we had one good innings and bowled very well. They’ll be very different conditions in West Indies but we can’t worry about that.
“We’re going to enjoy tonight, the support we get at all the grounds has been fantastic.”
Joe Root was named man of the match for his unbeaten 149 which helped England to a commanding first-innings lead of 338 runs at The Oval.
“Joe Root’s innings was brilliant,” Cook said.
”We knew that, with three days left, we had the opportunity to bat. It took the impetus away from India.
”We are on the road to recovery. We haven’t felt like this for a long time. We were laughing out there. You don’t get many days like that. We have to enjoy it and hope it’s the start of a long road back.
“The summer has been a collective effort. I can’t praise (coaches) Peter Moore and Paul Farbrace highly enough. They have come in and grabbed the environment. We have needed a kick up the backside and they have been brave enough to do that.”
After their crushing Ashes defeat in Australia, England lost the home series against Sri Lanka and many people were calling for Cook to quit the captaincy.
“Day four at Headingley was a low moment,” Cook said.
“Without my wife, I don’t think I’d be standing here as captain. You don’t often say things like that, I don’t know why I just have, but it’s the way I feel.”
Root struggled in the last Ashes series but returned to form to score at least fifty in each of the five tests against India.
“The winter was not a highlight of my career, but it is great to come back and score,” Root said.
“I was just looking to survive in the winter but now I‘m looking to score and to put the pressure back on the bowlers. Hopefully, things can keep improving as it’s a long time till we play test cricket again.”
Fast bowler James Anderson was named England’s man of the series after taking 25 wickets and he now has 380 test victims, three behind the English record held by Ian Botham.
“We’ve fought back really well, I feel very lucky to be up here getting this award,” Anderson said.
“I‘m in a good place with the ball, all four seamers have bowled outstandingly in the last three tests and it’s been a group effort. When the nicks carry, it makes a huge difference.”
Editing by Brian Homewood