ENGLAND signed off their tour of India with victory in the fifth one-day international yesterday, but captain Alastair Cook insists only a series win would have left him fully satisfied.
The tourists came away from the breathtaking ground at Dharamsala with a seven-wicket success after Ian Bell anchored the England innings with a match-winning 113 not out.
Bell faced 143 balls, hit 13 fours and one six as he carried England over the line, while Tim Bresnan took the bowling honours with four for 45 as India were dismissed for 226.
Cook was full of praise for his side’s efforts in the final match, but was mindful not to let the result overshadow the three defeats that came before it.
“We’re not really in it for ‘decent efforts’,” he said. “It was very important to end the series on a high but there’s always disappointment when you come to try and win a series then lose 3-2.
“We’ve had a really good couple of years in ODIs, so of course we’re a little bit disappointed in the result of the series.
“It’s probably a little frustrating. I said at the start of the tour that when we play to our potential we win games, and when we have played well here we’ve put India under some pressure.
“Obviously in a couple of games we didn’t do that.”
Despite those sentiments, Cook found plenty of time to cast light on some of England’s best performers this month. Bell was at the head of the queue for his exquisitely judged knock, but Cook saw standout displays by several of his party.
“Belly’s hundred today was outstanding. It is easy sometimes to talk the talk but to go out there and do it like he did is something we can take a lot from,” said Cook. “We’ve learned a lot about other players too. James Tredwell has had an outstanding series and Joe Root, who wasn’t in the original selection, has taken his chances very well.”
Bell had a near perfect day. He acknowledged that an undefeated century and an England win at arguably the most picturesque ground in international cricket adds up to a good shift at the office.
“I definitely won’t forget this,” he said. “This whole place has been incredible, just coming here, so to win in a great venue makes it very special.”
“I’ve probably been guilty of getting a lot of starts and not going on so to be there in a tight-ish game, not out and with a hundred is exactly what I want to do.”