Tag Archives: alastair

Steven Finn and Jonathan Trott help England draw first Test with New Zealand

Finn and Trott help save first Test as England bat their way to a draw in Dunedin

By
Paul Newman

PUBLISHED:

03:51 GMT, 10 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

03:51 GMT, 10 March 2013

Steven Finn took a big stride down this lifeless Dunedin wicket ball after ball to repel New Zealand and rescue England from first Test embarrassment today in one of the great displays of nightwatchman defiance.

Not since Alex Tudor made an unbeaten 99 in England’s victory charge against New Zealand in 1999 at Edgbaston has a bowler doing a batsman’s job for England made such an impact as a nightwatchman.

It seemed an excessively cautious act by England to send Finn in ahead of Jonathan Trott when Alastair Cook was out with just over two overs left on the fourth day but far from just seeing his team through to the close the big fast bowler went on and on and on today.

Unlikely hero: Nightwatchman Steven Finn hit 50 as England drew the first Test

Unlikely hero: Nightwatchman Steven Finn hit 50 as England drew the first Test

Finn outlasted Nick Compton, Trott and Kevin Pietersen to score his first half-century in first-class cricket and go a long way towards earning England a draw that will feel like a great escape after they were humiliated for an abject 167 in their first innings.

For whatever inexplicable reason England have again been slow starters in an overseas series but have got away with their first innings negligence here and will feel that they cannot bat as badly again at either Wellington or Auckland.

They owe much of that to Finn. If the man preferred to Jimmy Anderson as nightwatchman got out early on the fifth day it is probable that England would have been on the end of one of the biggest upsets in recent Test history.

As it was they were made to battle all the way by a New Zealand side who pushed hard for what would have been one of their greatest modern wins, having England421 for six, a lead of 128, when both Brendon McCullum decided that enough was enough at the start of the last hour.

Such had been the quality of the start of England’s second innings, Compton and Cook putting on 231 for the first wicket, that England knew they just had to bat sensibly on what was effect a fourth day pitch to survive.

But Compton, who played what may turn out to be a career defining innings to record his maiden Test century on Saturday, could add only 15 to his overnight 102 before he was trapped lbw by the impressive and ever persevering Neil Wagner to give New Zealand hope.

That brought in Trott who had the rare experience of outscoring his partner as he moved smoothly along towards a fluent half-century, the only surprise coming when he was athletically caught by Wagner off his own bowling.

Kevin Pietersen, still looking rusty after his extended break from first-class cricket, arrived on a king pair but eased his first ball through midwicket for two. It could have been the cue to calm Pietersen down but he never looked comfortable before inside edging his new nemesis Wagner through to BJ Watling and departed for 12. England can only hope he is more fluent is the second Test which begins on Thursday.

When England had moved on to 382 for four at tea, a lead of 89, that seemed all but safe but the trouble was that they had scored too slowly to be out of New Zealand’s reach, only 53 runs coming in the middle session.

Certainly when Finn’s long vigil was over when he was trapped attempting to sweep the left-arm spinner Bruce Martin, after facing 203 balls for his 56, there was the hint of a twitch for England. When Joe Root was then run out without scoring the wobble was very much on.

But the bottom line was that this was a lifeless University Oval pitch, which made England’s first innings capitulation all the more inexplicable, and Ian Bell and Matt Prior were able to negotiate the remaining overs for England without alarm.

New Zealand will be able to hold their heads up high after this match. They went into the series seemingly in turmoil internally and with very few players of genuine Test-class. Yet in Neil Wagner they seem to have found a left-arm seamer with considerable enthusiasm and no little pace and in Hamish Rutherford they have found an opener who has started off in the best manner possible.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that England, under-prepared after just one first-class warm-up match, were complacent here, even if it was sub-consciously, but they now know they are in a proper series.

The second Test follows in Wellington on Thursday and , after this experience, they will be backing themselves to do what they did in India and come back from a rotten first Test to win the series.

Cricket fan hit on head with ball in Dunedin – New Zealand v England

VIDEO: Knocked for six! Cricket fan is clobbered on the head as Kiwi openers punish lacklustre England

By
Joe Ridge

PUBLISHED:

11:45 GMT, 7 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:16 GMT, 7 March 2013

Just one six was hit on the second day of the first Test between New Zealand and England and Dunedin – but one poor lad wore it right on his temple.

Having skittled England out for a pitiful 167, Kiwi openers Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton had seen off the new ball and were just settling into their stride when Monty Panesar was brought into the attack by Alastair Cook.

Scroll down to to watch the video…

Clean hit: Hamish Rutherford launches Monty Panesar towards the long on boundary

Clean hit: Hamish Rutherford launches Monty Panesar towards the long on boundary

Incoming: Hamish Rutherford launches Monty Panesar towards the long on boundary

But while the watching public were waiting to see if the spinner could extract any turn from a decent pitch, one unlucky punter took his eye off the ball as the left-handed Rutherford sent the ball sailing over the long-on rope.

The ball clattered into the unsuspecting spectator's head but don't worry, he's OK, and he'll have it all on tape to look back on – once the swelling has gone down, of course.

Unsuspecting: The fan is seen chatting to friends just before the ball hits him

Unsuspecting: The fan is seen chatting to friends just before the ball hits him

Unsuspecting: The fan is seen chatting to friends just before the ball hits him

Stinger: The fan is in pain, but he's OK

Stinger: The fan is in pain, but he's OK

VIDEO: Watch fan get hit on the head by Hamish Rutherford six

Stumped! Cricket ball hits fan on the head

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Michael Vaughan mocks Australia after innings defeat in India to stoke Ashes fires

England legend Vaughan stokes Ashes fires by mocking Aussies' miserable loss in India

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

12:08 GMT, 5 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:08 GMT, 5 March 2013

There a few things more enjoyable for an English cricket fan than watching Australia squirm. For former captain Michael Vaughan the feeling is no different.

The 2005 Ashes-winning skipper spent the morning goading England's old foe as the Baggy Green suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of India in Hyderabad.

The defeat means Australia became the first side in history to suffer an innings defeat having declared in their first innings, and Clarke admits they could have few complaints about the result.

Headache: Australia captain Michael Clarke is in charge of a poor Australia side

Headache: Australia captain Michael Clarke is in charge of a poor Australia side

Flop: Phillip Hughes is struggling again after being recalled as Australia's No 3 batsman

Flop: Phillip Hughes is struggling again after being recalled as Australia's No 3 batsman

Australia are in England this summer for the first of back-to-back Ashes series against Alastair Cook's side, where they will be looking to wrestle back the urn for the first time since 2006.

And after watching Michael Clarke's side toil in India, Vaughan took to Twitter to poke fun.

Those were the days: Michael Vaughan (centre) led England to Ashes glory in 2005, beating the greatest Australian side of them all

Those were the days: Michael Vaughan (centre) led England to Ashes glory
in 2005, beating the greatest Australian side of them all in the five-match series

Raise your bat: Vaughan celebrates his century at Old Trafford in the third Test in 2005

Raise your bat: Vaughan celebrates his century at Old Trafford in the third Test in 2005

Raise your bat: Vaughan celebrates his century at Old Trafford in 2005

In the first of his tweets, he wrote:
'Breaking news. Anyone that has bought a fifth day ticket for this
summer's Ashes will receive full refund due to Aussie team that won't
make it.'

He then added: 'What do you call a great Australian cricketer Retired…..'

England lose Test warm-up game by three wickets to New Zealand XI

Watling's second half-century gives Cook and Co plenty to ponder ahead of first Test as England lose tour match

By
David Clough, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

07:33 GMT, 2 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:33 GMT, 2 March 2013

England suffered an unexpected defeat as BJ Watling's second half-century of the match proved too much for the tourists at the Queenstown Event Centre ground.

Watling (89no) followed his unbeaten 66 in the first innings with another telling contribution to help a New Zealand XI chase 334 to prevail in a tight finish with eight balls and three wickets to spare.

England, in their first red-ball fixture of a double-Ashes year in this warm-up for the first of three Tests in Dunedin, were losing in a first-class tour match for the first time in almost seven years – the last defeat came against an India board XI in Vadodara.

Trudging off: England captain Alastair Cook alongside Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad react after losing to the New Zealand XI

Trudging off: England captain Alastair Cook alongside Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad react after losing to the New Zealand XI

Watling finished with eight fours and two sixes from 122 balls, in a run chase which featured three other individual scores between 40 and 50 as England – without rested frontline seamers James Anderson and Steven Finn – paid for an unconvincing performance with the ball in particular.

Graham Onions lost his way, and it is hard to see him being considered as the go-to back-up Test seamer if needed after recording match figures of one for 213.

Inconsistent batting from the top six was also part of the problem – with Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Nick Compton all short of runs as the Test series looms.

There was no particular shame in losing to a team in which all but Carl Cachopa have international experience, and five – including wicketkeeper Watling – are in the squad to face England again next week.

It is hardly the start Alastair Cook would have wanted nonetheless as his side seek to follow up their historic series win in India with more success here over the next three weeks.

After England declared on their overnight 256 for nine, progress was initially unremarkable for both sides.

Openers Hamish Rutherford and Tom Latham began the chase with their second stand of 56 in this match, at four-an-over on a cloudy morning which yielded no immediate headway for Stuart Broad and Onions with the new ball.

Rutherford even climbed into an upper-cut which deposited a short ball from Broad high over point and into the enclosure in front of the players' pavilion for six.

Soon afterwards, Broad hit the same batsman on the head with a sharp bouncer.
But it was first-change Chris Woakes who made the first breakthrough when Rutherford cut him into the hands of point.

Woakes was rewarded for a spell which was much-improved from his first-innings efforts, and Broad also struck in the next over when he switched to a fuller length and bowled a static Cachopa for a third-ball duck.

Onions looked a slightly more likely wicket-taker too for a time, but no one could find a way past Latham or Neil Broom up to lunch.

Their stand had extended to 64 by the time Swann got Latham two short of his half-century, apparently caught-behind as he tried to sweep.

Then with the first ball after mid-session drinks, Broad saw off Broom lbw playing no shot.

When Dean Brownlie went too before tea, neatly caught low at second slip by Swann off the returning Woakes, the hosts were running out of frontline batsmen.

But Watling and Corey Anderson, who had battered England for a rapid century stand in the first innings, were once more in occupation.

They almost repeated the dose too, in a partnership of 82 this time which took the hosts to well within 100 runs of their target with more than 20 overs remaining.

Onions had suffered at Anderson's hands yesterday, and did so again today in two overs which cost 23 runs and contained three no-balls.

A much-needed wicket came from an unlikely source in Joe Root, who did Anderson in the flight as he aimed another big hit to leg and was bowled.

Swann, off the field for several overs previously, returned only to almost immediately drop Watling on 47 off Broad at gully.

It proved a costly miss – because, even after Jimmy Neesham had pulled a Root long-hop straight into Broad's hands at square-leg, Watling saw the job through against the second new ball in an unbroken half-century stand alongside Neil Wagner.

England beat New Zealand by five wickets to win ODI series

England clinch ODI series win as Finn blows away Black Caps in Auckland

By
David Clough, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

07:59 GMT, 23 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:06 GMT, 23 February 2013

England cashed in on a fine performance with the ball and in the field to coast to victory at Eden Park and wrap up the one-day international series 2-1 against New Zealand.

Steven Finn was the driving force as the tourists bowled their hosts out for 185, and today's decider turned into a mis-match.

Even Brendon McCullum's third successive half-century was unable to rescue a defendable total for New Zealand, albeit on a pitch which had offered plenty early on to well directed seam bowling after Alastair Cook had won the toss.

Finn when you're winning: The England fast bowler (left) picked up three wickets

Finn when you're winning: The England fast bowler (left) picked up three wickets

England's two premier exponents, Finn and James Anderson, soon reduced the hosts to a hapless 11 for three.

McCullum (79) refused to let England have it all their own way with six
fours and five sixes but, without significant support, could not turn
the tide on his own.

It seemed a foregone conclusion that England would make light work of their target.

In the event they were not flattered by a five-wicket margin, and it was
more instructive that they also had 12.3 overs to spare.

More to follow…

Swann dive: England spinner Graeme Swann swoops to catch James Franklin out

Swann dive: England spinner Graeme Swann swoops to catch James Franklin out

Joe Root not resting on laurels after England beat India

Long way to go: Root not resting on laurels after Rajkot win

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

11:07 GMT, 12 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:04 GMT, 12 January 2013

Joe Root is confident England will not rest on their breakthrough success over India in yesterday's first one-day international.

England claimed a first 50-over win over India on their home soil in seven years, and 13 games, after securing a nine-run success in Rajkot.

The tourists had been whitewashed 5-0 in their previous two visits but, after a long-awaited Test success in the country last month, Root said the limited overs team would not get ahead of themselves in the five-match series.

Runs: Root was not required to bat in the first ODI as England racked up 325-4

Runs: Root was not required to bat in the first ODI as England racked up 325-4

'We all know how tough it is out here and there is still a long way to go in the series,' he told Sky Sports News.

'We are all up for it and ready to go for the second match (in Kochi on Tuesday).

'We are only concentrating on the next game and making sure we put in a good performance like we did in the first ODI. If we do that then we will be up there.'

Root was not required to bat on his ODI debut yesterday as England posted 325-4 on the back of a 158-run opening stand between Alastair Cook (75) and Ian Bell (85).

Partnership: Bell (85) and captain Cook (75) shared an opening stand of 158

Partnership: Bell (85) and captain Cook (75) shared an opening stand of 158

The 22-year-old revealed he had begun the day expecting to come in at four but, after England's start, was shunted down the order.

It meant his nine handy overs of part-time spin – which conceded 51 runs – were his major contribution, although the Yorkshireman was hardly complaining.

'I was told I was going to bat four but the key to success everywhere is being able to adapt and we did that fantastically well yesterday,' he said.

'We're going to have to continue to do that throughout the tour if we are to be successful.

'I'm happy to play and be a part of it all so I'm not worried at all.'

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Leonna Mayor – female jockey photshoot

From racing horses to racing hearts! Apprentice Mayor is a Grade One jockey

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

12:02 GMT, 7 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:07 GMT, 7 January 2013

Leonna Mayor's job is to race horses, but with these pictures the young jockey will have hearts racing across the country.

The stunning 22-year-old is an apprentice at Alastair Lidderdale's stable – and already has 31 wins to her name.

And while her fledgling racing career remains in its infancy, these pictures will send her shooting to the forefront of all race-goers minds.

Weighing in: Mayor takes to the scales at Kempton Park in Surrey

Weighing in: Mayor takes to the scales at Kempton Park in Surrey

Mayor first appeared in MailOnline 18 months ago during a photoshoot alongside a number of other young female jockeys.

She revealed her desire at the time was to become a top jockey in racing circles. And there was also a revelation about her slightly embarrassing modelling past.

She said: 'My main ambition is to be known as a good female jockey and to get to a situation where trainers want to use me rather than my agent having to ask them.'

'Winning my fourth and most important race of the year (in 2011) on Thunderball at Pontefract when the owners could have used a more experienced jockey was a highlight.

She added: 'I did modelling as a youngster and was pictured wearing a hideous pink tracksuit in the Argos catalogue.'

Fitness regime: Mayor has revealed how much dedication is needed to remain trim for racing

Fitness regime: Mayor has revealed how much dedication is needed to remain trim for racing

Fitness regime: Mayor has revealed how much dedication is needed to remain trim for racing

Staying in shape is a key element of her day-to-day life as a jockey, but has admitted staying trim is a constant battle.

Leonna, 22, told the Daily Star: 'It is weird having to adjust your weight for different races but it becomes second nature.

'It makes dinners out difficult and, after a long day, the last thing I feel like doing is cooking a complicated meal. I eat a lot of soup and treat myself to a takeaway if I get a win!

'If I need to lose a pound or so, I
sweat in a hot bath. One of the lads suggested a couple of glasses of
wine the night before a race to dehydrate.'

Judging by these pictures, her fitness regime is working just fine.

Lacy racer: Mayor certainly has the pulses racing on and off the track

Lacy racer: Mayor certainly has the pulses racing on and off the track

Lacy racer: Mayor certainly sets the pulses racing on and off the track

Australia set down Ashes marker… but should England be worried?

Awesome Aussies set down Ashes marker… but should England be worried

|

UPDATED:

11:32 GMT, 28 December 2012

There's no getting round the fact: the second Test between Australia and Sri Lanka at Melbourne was not so much a game of cricket as a demolition job.

Australia won inside three days by an innings and 201 runs, while Kumar Sangakkara had his left hand broken by Mitchell Johnson and two other Sri Lankans stayed in the pavilion, absent hurt.

With back-to-back Ashes series lying in wait in 2013, this result was what you might reasonably call a statement of intent.

Star man: Mitchell Johnson (centre) was in fine form as Australia hammered Sri Lanka in the second Test

Star man: Mitchell Johnson (centre) was in fine form as Australia hammered Sri Lanka in the second Test

But how concerned should England be After all, the Sri Lankans have always been poor in Australia: this was their 10th defeat there in 12 Tests, four of them by an innings.

And Australian pitches could not be further removed from the slow heart-breakers routinely found in Sri Lanka.

Alastair Cook may also comfort himself with the thought that, more than anything, the MCG appears to have hosted the rebirth of Johnson, who returned match figures of 6 for 89 and hit an unbeaten 92.

If anything was designed to dispel the post-Christmas blues in soggy England, it is the thought that Johnson – a figure of fun during the 2010-11 Ashes – will be taking the field at Trent Bridge on July 10. The Barmy Army will be exercising their vocal chords.

Take that: Johnson punished the Sri Lankans with the bat as well as the ball in Melbourne

Take that: Johnson punished the Sri Lankans with the bat as well as the ball in Melbourne

The success on Test debut of Sydneysider Jackson Bird may be more significant, for Australia are compiling a stock of apparently interchangeable seam bowlers – the must-have accessory for any team aspiring to regular success in the fixture-heavy modern era.

Their problem, though, is fitness: everyone keeps breaking down.

As things stand, it is fairly pointless trying to predict which of their seamers will play at Nottingham. As for their batting, Michael Clarke remains in the form of his life, with Mike Hussey not far behind.

England's best hope here is that the law of averages kicks in, as it has done for every batsman in Test history bar Don Bradman.

Solid start: Jackson Bird can be happy with his Test debut for Australia

Solid start: Jackson Bird can be happy with his Test debut for Australia

And, although there were half-centuries at Melbourne for David Warner and Shane Watson, England will also be quietly confident about getting the better of Australia's top four.

Warner and Phil Hughes, who is being rehabilitated at No 3, may be too keen to play their shots to prosper regularly in English conditions, while Ed Cowan looks no better than steady, and Watson is yet to demonstrate he has the capacity for big hundreds required at No 4.

Having said all that, Australia are now 2-0 up with one to play against a team England beat only 1-0 at home in 2011, then lost to at Galle earlier this year.

And yet a better gauge of where the two Ashes sides are will be Australia's four-Test series in India, starting in February.

England are still luxuriating in their 2-1 win. The pressure will be on Clarke's side to match them.

England v India: How Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Monty Panesar and co rated – Top Spin

From the brilliance of Cook to Broad's Tour nightmare… how England's heroes rated in India

|

UPDATED:

14:11 GMT, 18 December 2012

What better way to celebrate England's first series win in India since 1984-85 than by lavishing on Alastair Cook's heroes some marks out of 10 Here's the Top Spin's man-by-man guide to a famous few weeks…

Alastair Cook 9

Thank goodness there was no DRS: had Cook been given out lbw for 41 during his second-innings 176 at Ahmedabad, the knock which allowed the players to go to bed – Cook's own phrase – believing they could play India's spinners would not have materialised. Instead, England's new captain kept ramming home the point, with 122 at Mumbai and 190 at Kolkata.

/12/18/article-2249975-1690D5BF000005DC-242_468x328.jpg” width=”468″ height=”328″ alt=”Welcome back: England heroes Cook and Panesar arrive in London on Tuesday” class=”blkBorder” />

Welcome back: England heroes Cook and Panesar arrive in London on Tuesday

Top Spin

And he is now one of only four England captains – Douglas Jardine, Tony Greig and David Gower are the others – to have won a Test series in India.

Runs: 562, High Score: 190, Average: 80.28

Nick Compton 6

Amid the immediate post-match celebrations at Nagpur, Compton cut a slightly dejected figure, quietly reasoning that he had not contributed in the manner of some of his team-mates.

And yet four successive opening stands with Cook of 50-plus were a vital part of the team's ecosystem, and the partnership of 166 at Kolkata laid the base for series-clinching lead.

There was merit as well in the way Compton overcame a poor start to the warm-up matches, when the dual pressures of having a famous grandfather – feted in these parts – and keeping out Joe Root might have taken their toll. Only in his failure to pass 57 after making several starts counted against him.

Runs: 208, High Score: 57, Average: 34.66

Steady: Compton didn't contribute in the manner of some of his team-mates

Steady: Compton didn't contribute in the manner of some of his team-mates

Jonathan Trott 7

It was all OK in the end, because Trott was able to revel in his natural game both in Kolkata and Nagpur, and he was no longer playing down the wrong line to the spinners. But two ducks in his first three innings suggested he might embody England's 2012 struggles against Asian spin.

The things changed. His hands became softer, and the work of the opening batsmen and the bowlers – who didn't allow India past 327 after Ahmedabad – meant he didn't walk out under quite the same pressure again.

And while Trott was drawing what little sting remained from India's bowlers in the last day and a half at Nagpur, it's quite possible England felt they could not have chosen a better man for the job.

Runs: 294, High Score: 143, Average: 42.00

On form: KP was one of England's star performers in India

On form: KP was one of England's star performers in India

Kevin Pietersen 8

Pietersen's ascent from the ridiculous of Ahmedabad to the sublime of Mumbai was one of many beguiling tales offered by this tour.

In a series characterised by careful batting, that 186 at the Wankhede was challenged only by Virender Sehwag's curtain-raising ton.

Of course, we may be back into the realms of Steve Archibald and his now-hackneyed take on team spirit, but Pietersen's reintegration seemed genuine enough – not least when Jimmy Anderson ran all the way to point to leap into his arms after bowling Sehwag for a first-over duck in the fourth Test.

Just as revealing were two selfless fifties: in Kolkata, he immediately changed the mood of a turgid third day by hitting the first three balls after tea to the fence; in Nagpur, he ground out 73 when every fibre of his being must have urged him to be reckless.

Can people say England managed him badly now

Runs: 338, High Score: 186, Average: 48.28

Ian Bell 6

If he redeemed himself – and his mediocre career record in India – with a series-confirming hundred on the last day of the series, then it was not entirely clear whether Bell quite appreciated the trouble he could have been in.

His first-baller at Ahmedabad could have haunted him to the end of his career had Jonny Bairstow made runs in Mumbai, when Bell was back home with his new baby. But Bell returned immediately for Eden Gardens, where he made sure 8 for 3 on the final morning did not become a calamity, and then brushed aside a lame first-innings chip off Piyush Chawla at Nagpur to steer England stylishly to safety.

Runs: 172, High Score: 116*, Average: 43.00

Centurion: Bell saved his Tour with a series-confirming ton

Centurion: Bell saved his Tour with a series-confirming ton

And the good news for him is that England's 15 Tests in 2013 are all against either New Zealand or Australia, with their emphasis on seam bowling.

Samit Patel 6

He didn't do a lot wrong – the recipient of two poor decisions at Ahmedabad, he put together important cameos in the first innings at Mumbai and Kolkata, where Sehwag might easily have dropped the slip catch which cost Patel his wicket.

But the decisive contribution was lacking, and when it became clear that Monty Panesar's left-arm spin needed no back-up, Patel's early-tour status as one of England's most assured players of spin no longer counted for much. It seems harsh, but there is a good chance he will never play a Test match for England again.

Runs: 69, High Score: 33, Average: 17.25

End of the road: Will Samit Patel play for England again

End of the road: Will Samit Patel play for England again

Matt Prior 8

Prior's role in the life-affirming follow-on at Ahmedabad was easy to overlook while Cook was rewriting the record books, but the contrast throughout the series of his punchy counterattacks and the generally insipid offerings of MS Dhoni gave England heart and belief.

And his 57 at Nagpur, after England had slipped to 139 for 5, was a series-rescuer. If there remain some doubts about his glovework up to the stumps, his keeping standing back and his all-round selflessness were a reminder that there is no more valuable No 7 in Test cricket.

Runs: 258, High Score: 91, Average: 51.60
Catches: 6 Stumps: 1

Matt finish: Prior proved invaluable again for England

Matt finish: Prior proved invaluable again for England

Graeme Swann 8

So much for a steady decline. From the first day of the series, when Swann alone took the fight to India's rampaging top order, via Mumbai (where he was a canny foil to Panesar) and Kolkata (where he altered the mood of the fourth day by bowling Sehwag with the first ball after lunch) – from there all the way to Nagpur, where he took his series tally to 20, surpassed by no one, England's off-spinner was one their four most valuable players.

The extent to which he outbowled Ravi Ashwin – more tweak, more oomph, more accuracy – gradually eroded India's credibility. And he finally decided he fancied a bat as well: at Nagpur he made his first Test fifty for three years, and took England to 330, which was a basis for negotiation. One plea, though: please bin the reverse-swipe.

Runs: 98, High Score: 58, Average: 32.66
Wickets: 20, Average: 24.75

Spin kings: Swann and Panesar helped guide England to an impressive series win

Spin kings: Swann and Panesar helped guide England to an impressive series win

James Anderson 8

His improvement as the series went on was a joy to behold, and Dhoni would single Anderson out as the difference between the sides.

At Ahmedabad, his and England's failure
to find reverse-swing compared badly with India's success. At Mumbai,
the ball barely swung conventionally either, but Anderson exploited the
one that did, trapping Gautam Gambhir with the second delivery of the
match. And when he did find reverse, at Kolkata, he was sublime.

Beer we go: Anderson celebrates

Beer we go: Anderson celebrates

But no session exemplified his fitness, skill and stamina better than the third evening at Nagpur. Virat Kohli and Dhoni had batted all day, and India were thinking in terms of a handy lead. But Anderson roared in for the final hour to energise England. Four wickets fell, and India could never push on. It was world-class.

Runs: 17, High Score: 9, Average: 4.25
Wickets: 12, Average: 30.25

Monty Panesar 8

If English groundsmen could produce tracks like the Wankhede at the click of Panesar's weirdly long spinning fingers, he would end up with one of the great all-time Test records.

Instead, the shame is that we may need to enjoy him while conditions last. Because at Mumbai he was magnificent, driving the Indians onto the back foot with his pace, and thus opening up lbw against the right-handers.

When Pragyan Ojha protested that not every spinner could match the mphs achieved by Monty, he did so with a telling air of resignation. But he could defend as well, and Cook rightly called him a 'captain's dream' after he got through 52 uncomplaining overs for 81 in the final Test. He seems to be setting his own fields with conviction too. But when will we see him again

Runs: 5, High Score: 4, Average: 2.50
Wickets: 17, Average: 26.82

Stuart Broad 3

It was a tour to forget for England's vice-captain, who bruised a heel, scuffled with Ian Botham on Twitter, and failed to claim a wicket in 36 expensive overs. He was scolded publicly during a press conference with the normally phlegmatic bowling coach David Saker. He'll be back. But he won't be able to put this tour behind him quickly enough.

Runs: 34, High Score: 25, Average: 11.33
Wickets: 0, Ave: –

Road to recovery: Broad won't remember this Tour with much fondness

Road to recovery: Broad won't remember this Tour with much fondness

Tim Bresnan 4

Once England's talisman, Bresnan played only in the defeat at Ahmedabad and the draw at Nagpur, where he bowled his heart out but lacked Anderson's class. If Steven Finn can stay fit in the years ahead, Bresnan may revert to the place on the bench which some – perhaps rather too readily at times – always regarded as his destiny.

Runs: 39, High Score: 20, Average: 13.00
Wickets: 0

One-test wonders
Steven Finn 8

Who knows whether Finn might have flogged some life out of the Nagpur pitch, but his spell on the fourth afternoon at Eden Gardens fulfilled all the hopes and dreams the management had invested in him before he tweaked a thigh muscle on the opening day of the tour.

Runs: 4, High Score 4*
Wickets: 0

Joe Root 9

His remarkable debut blockathon spelled bad news for India's bowlers and possibly for Compton. And he had the nerve to unveil the reverse-sweep on the last day at Nagpur as well.

Runs: 93, High Score: 73, Average: 93.00

India v England: Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook and Monty Panesar pictured arriving at Heathrow

Flower sees India triumph as turning point for England as Cook, KP and Co arrive back at Heathrow after momentous victory

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UPDATED:

12:51 GMT, 18 December 2012

Andy Flower senses England’s Test team may have reached a turning point with their historic series victory in India.

The triumphant England players arrived at Heathrow today, as Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook and Monty Panesar were greeted warmly after touching down in London.

Pietersen, who successfully reintegrated into the squad this series after being selected by Flower, was snapped as he pushed his trolley through the airport.

Triumphant: Monty Panesar and Alastair Cook

Welcome back: Kevin Pietersen is pictured arriving at Heathrow Airport this morning

Triumphant: Monty Panesar (left) and Alastair Cook were at Heathrow along with Kevin Pietersen (right)

Cook and Panesar walked alongside each other through Terminal 3 after yesterday's draw in Nagpur.

Cook’s tourists defied the pessimistic expectations of many by recovering from a nine-wicket drubbing in the first Test in Ahmedabad to win successive matches in Mumbai and Kolkata and then clinch the series with yesterday’s draw.

In doing so, they finished a tough year on a significant high.

Under Cook’s predecessor Andrew Strauss, a dual Ashes-winning captain, England fell from grace in 2012 with series defeats against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last winter and then at home to South Africa.

Their hard-earned world No 1 Test status was a thing of the past by the time Strauss retired four months ago – and even after their 2-1 victory here, a first in India for almost 28 years, they have lost seven of 15 matches this year.

Good show: Cook and Panesar were greeted warmly at Terminal 3 at Heathrow

Good show: Cook and Panesar were greeted warmly at Terminal 3 at Heathrow

All smiles: Cook was accompanied by his wife Alice as he pushed his trolley through the terminal

All smiles: Cook was accompanied by his wife Alice as he pushed his trolley through the terminal

Coach Flower believes, however, there is no reason why the future cannot be a bright one for Cook’s team.

Asked if the fightback in India – completed thanks to centuries by Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell yesterday – could be a turning point, he said: 'I think it is.

'We had a tough time in the UAE against Pakistan at the start of the year, and one of the most satisfying things at the minute – certainly for me, and I’m sure for the players – is that they’ve shown they can score runs.

'Even some of the older guys, that have been around and have excellent Test career achievements, have still adapted their game and shown their game can improve.

'They’ve done that in conditions where English teams don’t historically do very well.

'I think everyone is very proud of that.'

Say cheese: The pair smiled for the cameras after touching down in the capital

Say cheese: The pair smiled for the cameras after touching down in the capital

Spinning to victory: This picture of Graeme Swann (right) and Monty Panesar (left) was tweeted by fellow bowler James Anderson

Spinning to victory: This picture of Graeme Swann (right) and Monty Panesar (left) was tweeted by fellow bowler James Anderson

Generations of England batsmen, in particular, have been found wanting in India since David Gower’s 1984-85 tourists also prevailed by a 2-1 margin.

'It’s very satisfying for that group of 30 blokes to have come out here and adapted to these conditions and overcome the opposition,' added Flower.

'It’s taken a lot of hard work, a lot of thought and a lot of skill out there in the middle – and they should be very proud of themselves.'

Flower paid tribute to his players’ character after they adapted brilliantly to the conditions.

He told Radio 5 Live: 'After the losses in the UAE we put some training regimes in place to help the players with their knowledge of how to play spin and score runs in these conditions.

Captain fantastic: Alastair Cook ensured that the tourists ended 2012 on a high

Captain fantastic: Alastair Cook ensured that the tourists ended 2012 on a high

'The players have put hours and hours of work into improving themselves. Their improvement against spin is great testament to their character.

'I think it has been a great year for English cricket. To win here for the first time in (almost) 28 years is an historic achievement. There is plenty for us to be proud of us in this last year.'

Flower also had words of praise for Kevin Pietersen, who finished a turbulent year personally on a high, the highlight a magnificent 186 in Mumbai.

He said: 'That innings in Mumbai was outstanding. He showed incredible skill and for him to turn the game around for us in partnership with Alastair Cook was a pivotal moment in the series.'