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India v England 1st Test



Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen paid tribute to Tendulkar after the Indian skipper's century

Captain Kevin Pietersen insisted his England team will bounce back from their six-wicket final-day defeat by India in the first Test in Chennai.

Sachin Tendulkar's masterful century helped India chase down a daunting target of 387 on the final day.

"It's a very, very bitter pill to swallow," admitted Pietersen.

"After day one, if you'd said to us we would be defending 250 on the final day, we'd have taken that. Our boys are hurting but we'll come back strong."

After Virender Sehwag smashed a brutal 83 off 68 balls on Sunday, Tendulkar hit his 41st century to guide India to the highest successful run chase in India and the fourth highest in Test history.

Pietersen could only praise his opponents.

"Both teams can be really proud in the way they've gone about this Test match," he said.

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"Sehwag started the innings fantastically on Sunday and then the 'Little Master'... as a skipper and as a team, when you're trying to set fields to a magician like that, it's very difficult.

"Our boys tried our hearts out. We didn't just come here to compete we came here to win, and unfortunately we got pipped today."

Pietersen said he was particularly proud of his team's efforts given the build-up to the match.

"To start a Test match two weeks after the tragedy in Mumbai, it's a fair show on both sets of players," he said.

"There are lots of positives to take into our dressing room: the effort everyone's shown, jumping on a plane to come back here - no excuses - and coming in here and putting in a fantastic performance against India."

TMS Close of Play - First Test, day five

Not surprisingly, Tendulkar described his latest century as one of his most important.

"This is a very, very important 100, right up among the top ones," he said.

"What happened in Mumbai was extremely unfortunate. This will give a certain amount of happiness, but it's very hard to recover from that.

"Cricket is a lesser thing compared to that, but whatever we can contribute, we've been able to do that."

Yuvraj Singh chipped in with 85 not out in a fifth-wicket stand of 163 with Tendulkar.

The left-hander described the experience as a "dream come true".

Tendulkar added: "Yuvy batted like a champion.

"This is a very special victory because to score 387 is really something on a track where the ball was bouncing and jumping awkwardly.

"The atmosphere in the dressing room was just fantastic and because of that you can go out and play well."

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see also
Jonathan Agnew column
15 Dec 08 |  England
Tendulkar offers Mumbai tribute
15 Dec 08 |  Cricket
England crushed by Tendulkar ton
15 Dec 08 |  England
England in India 2008
01 Dec 08 |  Cricket


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