Pietersen takes positives

India England
Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen knows England have a lot to learn from the winter tour of India

Kevin Pietersen insisted his side should be "really proud of themselves" after battling to a draw in the final Test but losing the series to India at the PCA Stadium today.

Set an unlikely victory target of 403 from a minimum of 43 overs on the final afternoon, the two sides shook hands on a draw with England on 64 for one with 15 overs still remaining.

The draw rewards England for their determination in avoiding their third defeat in the last four Tests although they have lost five of the last eight Test series.

But captain Pietersen, who led his team back to India to play the Test series in the aftermath of the terror attacks on Mumbai, believes his side should take credit for their performances given their distracted build-up to the two Tests.

"This doesn't feel as bad as what a defeat normally is," admitted Pietersen. "We can take a lot of positives from these last two weeks.

“We've come here to solely concentrate on cricket with hardly any preparation in white clothing and red ball, against such a great side who are playing great cricket and on top of their game.

"I think we competed really well and our boys can be really proud of themselves. India are playing fantastic, confident cricket at the moment, playing without any fear and they are on top of their game."

Pietersen played a leading role in persuading the squad to return to India after they flew back to England immediately after the Mumbai attacks without playing the two remaining matches in the one-day series.

He believes his efforts during several meetings in Abu Dhabi, where England trained in preparation for the Test series, were justified by the reaction England received since their return.

"I feel really proud to be captain of a bunch of guys who we brought here," he said. "We brought everyone who was picked and the boys have behaved like great ambassadors.

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"They've been fantastic; the Indian people have been magnificent. For us to come back here and play Test cricket in front of people who are religious about the job you love, there's nothing better.

"For the pure fact of playing here, there is nothing more fun or more enjoyable."

Pietersen also claimed his running war of words with Yuvraj Singh, which resulted in him labelling him a "pie-chucker" and accused him of bowling "left-arm filth", was all part of the enjoyment in the series.

"It's been fun banter, it's been enjoyable," he added. "We're two strong characters playing for our country and to have a bit of a joke and a bit of banter doesn't do anybody any harm.

"At end of the day we shake each other's hands and I told him how fantastically he batted today. The man is one of the cleanest strikers of a ball in world cricket - the sixes that man hits leave me dumbfounded.

"He is a special, special talent. To have a bit of a laugh, a bit of a joke, sometimes you get a bit of red mist and you have a bit of argument on the field, but that just happens - that's what happens when people are so committed to playing for their nation."

India, who leapfrog over South Africa into second place in the ICC Test rankings with their 1-0 series triumph, chose not to push for victory on the final day and batted on to reach 251 for seven after resuming on 134 for four.

Yuvraj hit an entertaining 86 off 93 balls, which included six fours and four sixes, while opener Gautam Gambhir fell for 97 before captain MS Dhoni finally declared.

"We wanted them to score their centuries," explained Dhoni. "As a team we felt it would be good if they could do that. When we started batting yesterday evening we weren't really sure about the fog.

Rahul Dravid & Gautam Gambhir

Rahul Dravid and Gautam Gambhir put together a fantastic partnership in Mohali

"If we'd have gone after the bowling from the start we could have lost a few wickets and then we could have started on time today and given them more overs to chase a target - we were leading in the series and we didn't want to give England any chance."

England coach Peter Moores paid tribute to India and felt his side would learn lessons from the series defeat.

He said: "Full credit to India, they played well first innings. I thought we bowled much better here than we did in the last Test.

"We learned quite a lot from that Test match but (Gautam) Gambhir and (Rahul) Dravid put that fantastic partnership together which made it that India couldn't really lose the game."

Moores had no regrets over the decision to return to India for the Test series after a week back at home following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

He added: "We made our statement as a team and I think it is the right one.

"Since we have been here it has felt very secure. It is a great place to play and everybody has learned a huge amount.

"There have been some quite tough lessons. We have got to take them away, improve ourselves and come back in the West Indies after Christmas and move it forward.

"It was definitely worth coming here. We have learned something, there has been some good cricket played and we move on to the challenges of 2009."

Moores admitted England let a big opportunity slip in the first Test in Chennai last week.

He said: "The intent was there to try to push the score on Chennai, we didn't do it. We had a fantastic opportunity to win a Test and bowl them out but we didn't take it.

"With hindsight we will look back and think there were different options we might have taken but credit to India, it was a fantastic run chase."

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