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Mumbai: Alastair Cook said Kevin Pietersen was the difference in England’s 10-wicket win over India.
Pietersen made a superb 186 to set up a series-levelling victory inside four days. Spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann shared 19 wickets but captain Cook said: “The innings that changed the game was Pietersen’s.
“That was sensational. He took the game away from India and that’s why you want him in your team,” he said.
Pietersen came in for criticism after making 17 and two in the defeat in the opening Test in Ahmedabad, his first since being dropped this summer for sending “provocative texts” to South Africa players.
“He held his hands up; he didn’t play two of the best shots he’s ever played,” added Cook. “(But) you can see how damaging he can be.
“Not many people in England - or the world - can play like that.”
Pietersen said: “It’s a great feeling to get a Test century and help us win. It’s a wonderful, wonderful occasion to be standing here having won.
“It’s nice to be back playing. It’s special to be part of this team and the dressing room is certainly united.”
It was only England’s second victory in 14 Tests in India stretching back to 1985.
“It’s been an amazing three days,” said Cook, whose 122 helped England establish a crucial first-innings lead of 86.
“Last week was a tough week for us and we had a lot of negative press over the way we played.
“We’ve stuck to our guns. We know we can play well in these conditions. This week we did.
“I can’t thank the lads enough for the effort they put in and the belief they showed,” he said yesterday. AGENCIES