'One swallow doesn't make a summer'
Graeme Swann was relieved that England put some “abjectly horrible cricket” behind them with victory in the Twenty20 international against India, but was not carried away by their only competitive win of the tour.
England restricted their hosts, who won the toss, to 120 for nine with a disciplined bowling display that featured three wickets for Steven Finn plus two apiece for Tim Bresnan and Ravi Bopara - who bowled a double wicket maiden.
Kevin Pietersen’s outstanding 53 from 39 balls guided Swann’s side to the brink of victory, completed with eight deliveries to spare.
“It’s been a very tough month for us and we’ve played some abjectly horrible cricket over the last five games, but today it all came together quite nicely,” Swann said.
“I thought the seam bowlers were outstanding and then of course KP with the bat.
“Tonight’s win will be important to prove to ourselves that we can win over here, but we need to improve our game. We know that we played some poor cricket for five games and one swallow doesn’t make a summer.”
Swann heaped praise on Finn, whose haul of 3-22 from four overs took him to 11 wickets in the six internationals on this trip.
The paceman had Ajinkya Rahane caught behind in the first over and returned midway though India’s innings to remove Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja in consecutive balls.
“He’s been the shining star for us throughout the whole month to be honest and he responded today,” Swann added.
“I needed a wicket and I brought him on and he bowled superbly, reverse-swinging the ball at good pace, so there’s not a lot more you can ask for as a captain.”
Pietersen, who played despite a broken thumb suffered last week, also had no doubts England must improve in these conditions before they return to India next winter.
“It was a tricky wicket,” Pietersen said. “One of those wickets where in the first six overs you’ve got to have a risk or two. Fortunately I got dropped and I rode my luck this evening.
“It’s a good place to come and play as a batter and I think all of us have underperformed. We’d like to have performed a lot better but, believe me, we tried our hardest.
“I’ve been here for three or four tours and only won one game - this is the second game I’ve won against India [here].
“So I’m particularly pleased this evening but we’ve got a lot of work to do, technique-wise, in the sub-continent. But the thing about this group of lads is we’ve always tried to do our best and we’ll continue to try and improve.”
Pietersen revealed the extent of his desire to play at Eden Gardens, having been ruled out of Tuesday’s one-day international there.
“I’ve grown up as a kid wanting to play in Kolkata, and losing out in the one-day game was not something I was happy about,” he said. “I begged the coach if I could stay and try to get on the park tonight.
“I’d be lying to say it wasn’t sore. But I’ve been on some pretty good pain-killers this evening, trying to mask the pain. It is one of those opportunities to play at the great grounds - the Lord’s, the SCGs, the Newlands - this is one of them.
“When you get an opportunity to play at Eden Gardens, you can try to mask the pain somehow through some good medication. Thank goodness, it worked.”
For the first time on England’s tour, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was forced to explain defeat.
“We were short of runs,” he said. “We didn’t get off to a very good start, then played a few bigger shots and lost quite a few wickets.
“Kevin Pietersen batted really well, attacked the bowlers and calculated well.”