Alastair Cook: England bowlers found it tough going on slow Trent Bridge pitch
Last Updated: 14/07/14 9:16am
England captain Alastair Cook declared the wicket the winner after his side's run without a Test victory extended to nine matches with a draw against India at Trent Bridge.
A flat pitch had offered little throughout the five days and, although England had a sniff of victory early on the final day, India stood firm with the match finally over when they declared on 391-9.
"We threw everything into today but when they got above 250-260 you felt we weren't going to win," he told Sky Sports.
"We had a sniff when they were only 200 ahead but the wicket won."
That it was England, and not India, who were the ones to be chasing victory was somewhat remarkable, not least after they had been 202-7 while chasing India's first-innings total of 457.
Joe Root's 154 and 81 from last James Anderson eventually helped England take a first-innings lead of 39, giving England hope once India were at 184-6 in their second innings.
"We dragged ourselves out of a hole," Cook said. "In this game we had a poor session when we lost six wickets. It was an outstanding hundred from Root and with Jimmy to have got 80-something. I didn't see it coming, but thank goodness he got it."
With the game drifting towards a draw, Cook brought himself on to bowl late in the day and - after a series of comedy impressions with the ball - in only his third Test over he took his first wicket when Ishant Sharma was nonchalantly caught by Prior down the leg side for 13.
"A few people aren't talking to me," he said. "It was a extraordinary moment for me to have more Test wickets than (bowling coach) David Saker."
But while he could enjoy a laugh, Cook and England still have serious concerns over how they can take the wickets needed to win a Test - a move which has led to the call-up of left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan in the squad for the second Test at Lord's.
"We're seeing a lot of dry weather," Cook said. "If we get a pitch with pace and bounce that attack will be hard to bat against, but we haven't had one of those wickets so we have to have a contingency plan.
"We know we can put India under some pressure when we bat. We can score heavy runs once we get in, and we know we can put their top order under pressure. We just need a pitch with a bit of life in it."
Although Cook leaves Nottingham as a Test wicket taker, he also does so with many unanswered questions about his form with the bat.
He made just five in the first innings before being bowled in unusual fashion around his legs and via the thigh pad and, perhaps surprisingly, was not invited to bat again on the final evening as India opted against declaring.
He has not scored a Test century in his last 25 knocks and averages just over 13, but he is not hiding from the challenge in front of him.
"I've had a couple of chop ons, then bowled hitting your thigh pad...it's a testing game and these things happen when you're not in the best of form," he said.
"But it's how you react to them and what you're doing in your practice. If you suddenly change everything you're not being true to yourself.
"I've got to believe the wheel will turn at some stage. I need to start scoring runs at the top of the order for England.
"For a year I haven't done it now and I need to do it. Simple."
Dhoni wants swing
English players - primarily seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad - have made public calls for livelier pitches than Trent Bridge's low, slow offering for the remainder of the series.
There is a feeling that docile tracks negate the hosts' home advantage but touring skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is also hoping for something similar.
"I always said that when you come to a country you want to play on a wicket that is the speciality of that country," he said.
"There's no fun in going to India and having a flat wicket where people can score 200 or 250 runs, but it's very good if you score a hundred on a turning track.
"England is not known for fast wickets but here it's more about swing and overcast conditions, and that's the speciality here.
"It is more about swing. That's what you want to see."