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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sehwag swung the match, Sachin took it away: Pietersen

Sehwag swung the match, Sachin took it away: Pietersen

December 15, 2008 19:15 IST

Virender Sehwag's blistering knock swung the match but it was Sachin Tendulkar's sedate century which took it away from England, rued visiting captain Kevin Pietersen.

Match Report

Effusive in his praise for Tendulkar, who struck his 41st Test century and remained unbeaten on 103, Pietersen said every English ploy to get the better of the Indian fell flat on its face.

"You cannot write Sachin Tendulkar's script any better. The man from Mumbai came and scored a sensational century today. He batted like a super-star," said Pietersen, who had earlier dubbed the Mumbaikar a "magician".

"We tried everything in our means but unfortunately we got stuck and he played well," Pietersen said.

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Asked whether it was Sehwag's whirlwind 68-ball 83 or Tendulkar's unbeaten ton that made all the difference, Pietersen said, "Sehwag definitely started things happening yesterday. But the way Sachin went about his business today in playing a super, super knock...Sachin played a fantastic game today."

Pietersen also praised Yuvraj Singh after the left-hander played a cameo of unbeaten 85 to guide India to a six-wicket victory.

"We decided to attack Yuvraj and wanted to get under his skin. We tried our hearts out. But he too played pretty well today," rued the South African-born cricketer.

Pietersen admitted it was frustrating to have lost the match they dominated on first three days but insisted they could be proud of their show.

"To control the (match) 70 per cent of the time and unfortunately to miss out is a pretty bitter pill to swallow. The boys are not happy in the dressing. But I think that both the teams could be really proud that the way they played a Test match cricket during the last five days after the incident in Mumbai. For both the teams to come after that and play the Test match and put on performances like this, they must be proud of themselves," he said.

On the positives from the match, the England captain said some of his teammates managed to make their mark even in defeat.

"I think the way (Andrew) Strauss batted was magnificent and the way Strauss and (Alastair) Cook started both the innings were fantastic. (Paul) Collingwood was fantastic as well and then Graeme Swann, on his debut, put on a pretty good performance and tried his heart out in both the innings," he said.

Pietersen was quick to dismiss suggestions that a rather slow batting approach by Strauss and Cook denied English bowlers a bigger total to defend.

"It is difficult to try and push the issue. Considering the wicket behaviour yesterday, I think our players have done a fantastic job in ushering us in to a position that we should have won the Test match. I do not see any argument why our batsmen batted slow," he said.

The captain, however, was not happy with his own performance and said, "I missed a pull shot and a straight ball. It is just a case that I missed out in a Test match. I got a hundred two weeks ago and got a hundred in my last Test match. But, I missed out in this Test match." 

Though Monty Panesar could not do justice to his reputation in the match, the left-arm spinner still had his captain vouching for him.

"I am alright with Monty. People may pick and talk about individuals or their performances. I think, we win as a team and we lose as a team. I may not look at every individuals performance and or low in confidence. We got to pick ourselves for the next one," Pietersen said.

Asked how the side would now pick themselves up after the narrow defeat, Pietersen said, "We need to go and reassess when I get back to the room and speak to a few people. That is how I look at things. Right now, I cannot tell you.

"Seventy per cent of the Test match was ours. It is very simple that we lost the fixture. I hate losing but I am not going to give any excuses for losing or not putting on a real good performance. My guys have put up a really fantastic performance during the last five days," said the England captain.

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