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Another 10 or 15 overs and the story could have been different at Rajkot. England came close to beat India in the first Test. They were four wickets away from upsetting the world’s no.1 ranked Test side on their own soil. England had set India a target of 310 from approximately 50 overs (just over a session and half). Scoring over six an over on the final day of a Test is a steep challenge and perhaps an early declaration could have helped England force a result in their favour. Indian skipper Virat Kohli showed good application as his unbeaten 49 guided India harbour to a draw. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 1st Test at Rajkot

On the final day, England skipper Alastair Cook scored his 30th Test hundred and in doing so passed the tally of cricket legend Don Bradman. He also became the first visiting batsman to score five hundreds in India and also brought up 1,000 runs in the country. Cook was pleased as his men could “prove to everyone else” that they can play in the challenging subcontinent conditions, which are a lot different from the ones that they encounter at home. The side was severely criticised after their defeat in the second Test against Bangladesh, which saw the series end 1-1.

The southpaw however expressed his disappointment that the side did not cross the winning line. A report from Times of India quotes the England captain as saying, “Four hundreds (from his side), spinners bowled well, seamers were outstanding on a slow wicket. We got into a position to try to force a result. Disappointing we did not quite get over the line.”

England showed little intent in the first session to up the tempo and declared in the 10th over into the second session, giving their bowlers just over a session and half to clean up the strong Indian batting line-up.

Cook defended the decision, “The reason behind it is we did not want to give India a sniff. Batting just to survive is a lot different than chasing 260, 270. On the same wicket we were 180 for nought. It was not a minefield. The odd ball did a bit. Maybe a braver person would have set them 240, but I thought it was a fair declaration, especially for the first game of the series.”

Praising the team’s performance, Cook had special words reserved for his opening partner and Rajkot debutant Haseeb Hameed. The youngster of Indian origin is only 19 and batted very well at the big stage.

“He (Hameed) is an unbelievable player, pushing me closer to retirement. A 19-year-old outscored me… He is a find, isn’t he? We said before the game we had no doubt he could play. He’s certainly a good player,” he added.