They've done country proud! Flower hails England heroes after victory in India
13:08 GMT, 17 December 2012
Andy Flower believes his England side have done the country proud after sealing a rare series victory in India.
Needing just a draw to claim a 2-1 win and their first series success in India for nearly 28 years, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell both struck centuries as England safely negotiated the final day’s play in Nagpur.
Flower took particular satisfaction from the fact his side learnt from their mistakes after losing the first Test, although he warned them against complacency in the future.
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'They’ve really done themselves proud here and their country proud,' he told Sky Sports 1.
'To come out here and show that they’ve learnt things is one of the special things about this victory.
'They’ve learnt how to play spin a lot better, obviously not the finished article but they’ve learnt how to play spin a lot better, they’ve learnt how to take 20 wickets in these conditions and they’ve learnt how to be resilient in foreign conditions.
'I think those are all things they can be very proud of.'
A nine-wicket humbling in Ahmedabad led to much derision from the media that England could not play spin in the sub-continent, following on from their 3-0 loss against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year.
But Flower was rewarded for his patience with the batsmen as England charged back with victories in Mumbai and Kolkata.
'It's nice for that faith to be repaid,' he added. 'I must say after that first Test loss I was heartened by the way that we played in the second part of the first innings and heartened by the way we played in the second innings.
'I’ve also seen the work, obviously very close hand, that they were doing in training and I was convinced they were better players of spin than they showed in the first bit of that first innings in Ahmedabad – that cost us really dear there.
'We didn't know which way it was going to go but I think they’ve proved they've learnt a lot especially some of the older players.
'That is a testament to some of their humility and their maturity to continue their learning into this phase of their career.'
Captain Alastair Cook savoured a 'very special' series win.
He said: 'It’s a very special day for us, it’s been a special tour. The bowlers have been brilliant and our batters have contributed big runs. Everyone in the squad can be very proud, especially after Ahmedabad and that heavy defeat.'
Opposite number Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted India’s batting at times had let them down, but praised James Anderson, named man of the match after taking four for 81 in India’s first innings.
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'I think we struggled in the batting department but the difference between the two bowling sides was James Anderson,' he said.
'He bowled really well. He was testing the batsman quite often.'
The lifeless pitch in Nagpur attracted some criticism and Dhoni acknowledged it did not suit either side.
'There was not much really for the fast bowlers or the spinners,' he added.
'It was difficult to score runs but if you kept your head down it was difficult to get the batsmen out.'
Anderson, who finished with 12 wickets in the series after mastering reverse swing in the third and fourth Tests, said: 'When we come over here, people think that spinners are going to get all the wickets but we knew that the seamers had a job to do.
'I've bowled better than I have before. Reverse swing has been a key part of us doing well.'
Even after Anderson prevented India taking a first-innings lead, there were some concerns for England at 94 for three before Trott and Bell put on 208.
Trott said: 'We'd lost two pretty quick wickets there, but Ian and myself dug in and complimented each other quite well with the tempo we batted at.'
There was some ill feeling out in the middle late in yesterday's play, not least after Trott chased down a wayward Ravichandran Ashwin no-ball and cracked it for four, but the Warwickshire batsman added: “I enjoy that, it gets me going.
'We’d take all the runs we could at that stage, to get a boundary early on was important so I’ll definitely take it – I’m not giving it back.'
County colleague Bell agreed, saying: 'The way I was batting I would have done the same. I would have taken any run at that time.'
Bell's hundred was his first in Tests this year and salvaged a poor personal tour which started with a dismal golden duck in Ahmedabad before he missed the second Test for the birth of his first child.
He said: 'It's been a tricky tour so it’s nice to finish on a high and nice to contribute today. Up to now I (only) had a run-out so it was nice to get some with the bat as well.'