Kevin Pietersen almost seemed shell-shocked at the end of his first overseas Test as England captain, calling the defeat “a bitter pill to swallow”. Till India began their final innings, England were in a position from which few believed they could lose. A combination of Indian excellence and a surprising lack of initiative from England, first when they were batting and then when they bowled on a fifth-day pitch, steered the game to its astonishing climax. Still, Pietersen refused to single out anyone for blame.
“I am not going to point fingers at anyone. We win as a team and lose as a team,” said Pietersen. “We can sleep knowing that 70 per cent of this Test was ours. The last time we were here we drew the series in the last match. We’ve got one Test to try and do it again.”
What Pietersen did do was give credit where it was due. “I think the way Sehwag started things off yesterday was something else, but the way Sachin went about his business today, I mean if he had got out early … who knows what could have happened,” said Pietersen. “I just think Sachin played a super, super knock just like the man he is. He’s a super bloke and played a fantastic day of cricket today.”
Pietersen also refused to use the lack of preparation and the uncertainty surrounding the tour as an excuse. “We are not going to use any excuses for losing or not putting on a real good performance,” he said. “After what happened in Mumbai, for both teams to come out and put on a performance like this is something we can be really proud of.”