It wasnt just that England gave India a scare on the final day. It was that, after the wretched final session in Dhaka, their batsmen proved to themselves they could succeed in these conditions and their spinners lost nothing in comparison to their Indian counterparts. Even their seamers, on a surface offering them little, could take pride in the manner they hurried and harried the Indian batsmen.They proved to India and, perhaps more importantly, to themselves, that they could challenge in this series.No-one was talking of us having a chance in this series, Alastair Cook said afterwards. But the way we played showed were in there. Its been a good five days and weve proved to everyone else that we can play.Perhaps we should have known that already. After all, England had won nine (and lost only two) of the last 13 Tests between these sides.But the defeat in Dhaka - and the manner of that defeat - evoked memories of Englands long-term struggles against spin. And, given Indias daunting home record of late, the makeshift appearance of Englands top-order and the relative lack of experience of their spinners, there were few people predicting success for them.They probably exceeded expectations on the final day. Having taken 160 overs to bowl India out in the first innings, it seemed attempting to do so in 50 overs in the second was a gesture more than a serious proposition.But when the sixth wicket fell with 10 overs left, it seemed real enough. And it wont have gone unnoticed by England that, under pressure, a couple of India batsmen made some odd choices. Ravi Ashwin drive to cover, W Saha seemed determined to hit his way out of trouble and Gautam Gambhir looked intimidated by the pace of Chris Woakes (who hardly bowled a poor ball in the match) on a slow wicket. Virat Kohli looked wonderfully solid, but elsewhere several chinks in the armour became apparent. And, as Arnold Schwarzenegger almost put it: if it bleeds, England can kill it.Criticism of Cooks declaration seems harsh. While it is true we may look back on the final afternoon in Rajkot as Englands best chance of winning a Test on this tour, it was never realistic to expect Cook to risk wasting four-and-a-half days of hard work by giving India an opportunity in the opening match of a series. Especially as this India side contains, in Kohli, one of the great chasers in the history of limited-overs cricket. The eventual target was 310 in a minimum of 49 overs but, with England scoring 34 in the final five completed overs of their innings, even a slightly earlier declaration might have given India a chance. Cook says he never considered keeping India in the field all day.We just didnt want to give India a sniff, he said. Maybe a braver person would have set them 240 but I thought it was a fair declaration, especially in the first game of the series. We had just been 180 without loss on that wicket. It wasnt a minefield.There was that outside chance, that 20-to-1 chance that we could win and youve got to take that opportunity to do that.Any analysis of the England performance has to acknowledge the substantial advantage they had in this match. Winning the toss was crucial and, had Indias fielders held on to their first-innings chances, the match might have taken a different direction. But it also has to acknowledge history. Before this game, no visiting batsmen had made a century in India since 2013. For four to now have done so reflects well on an England batting line-up that, at last, might be coming together. The continued development of Ben Stokes, who has gone from looking hapless against spin to looking one of Englands best players of it, is particularly obvious but we may well look back on the Rajkot Test of 2016 as the debut of a special talent in Haseeb Hameed.Hameed missed out on a debut century - selflessly trying to up the pace in an attempt to set-up the declaration - but he still registered the highest score by a teenager in Englands Test history. It would be a major surprise if he was not one of Englands openers in the Ashes in 12 months time. It has been a long, long time since they have been able to look that far ahead.The performance of Englands spinners was almost as encouraging. After struggling in Bangladesh, they responded with a much-improved display that included the best performance of Adil Rashids Test career to date. Moeen Ali, who was named man of the match, conceded fewer runs per over than Ashwin and also took as many wickets in fewer overs, while Zafar Ansari had a better strike-rate than his left-arm counterpart Ravi Jadeja. The influence of Saqlain Mushtaq, who seems to have inspired more confidence in all of them, has been telling.Our three spinners came in for a lot of criticism after Bangladesh, Cook said. But they bowled a lot better. It has been great to have Saqlain Mushtaq here and he has made a massive difference for those guys. They bowled really well.Cook looked exhausted at the end. Despite admitting he had been struggling for form, he still managed to compile his 30th Test century - only 10 men have more now - but he accepted that his side had put a lot in for little tangible reward. For both sides, managing tired players is going to be an issue as the series progresses.Its been a hard five days, Cook said. A tough Test. Weve put everything on the line and played some really good cricket. Its disappointing not to get over the line, but it was a great Test and everyone can be proud of the way they played. If we hit the same standards as weve done there, well be okay. Its just about repeating it.Im feeling fairly jaded now and I think the lads. Its been bloody hard work, I can tell you that.With that in mind, England may refresh the side with the addition of James Anderson for the second Test starting on Thursday. While it remains more likely he will return for the third Test, it could be that he replaces a spinner - probably Ansari - if England decide the pitch will offer him anything. It seems more probable that the Visakhapatnam surface will encourage spinners.England know that tougher challenges lie ahead. They know the pitches will turn more and they know that they wont always win the toss. But this performance means they will face those challenges with confidence in their own games high and the knowledge that they are up against an opponent that can be beaten.There is still a bit of room for improvement. Had Cook held on to a relatively simple chance offered by Mohammed Shami in the first innings, England would have taken a first-innings lead of 77 and, had their over-rate been better on Friday, they would have had another four overs at the India batsmen in the second innings.But these are minor quibbles. This was an encouraging start. Conor Timmins Jersey . 10 VCU 85-67 on Thursday night at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The Seminoles (4-0) have scored at least 80 points in each of their games. J.T. Compher Jersey . -- Jonathan Drouin gave Halifax the boost it needed to edge host Sherbrooke Phoenix 3-2 in a shootout in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. http://www.avalancheauthority.com/authentic-john-wensink-avalanche-jersey/ . Dallas hasnt ruled out the star quarterback for Sunday nights game against Philadelphia, but all signs point to Romos back injury pushing Kyle Orton into the starting role after two years of limited play as the backup. Surely Ortons name isnt the first that comes to mind for fans wanting a change after years of damaging interceptions, fumbles or, most infamously, the field goal flub when Romo dropped the snap on a kick that could have won his first playoff game in 2006. Sven Andrighetto Jersey . Hargreaves began his career in 2008 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and has played with the Edmonton Eskimos and last season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Matt Nieto Jersey .J. -- New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz will miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his left knee. Nebraska goes into its final game of the regular season on Friday at Iowa with several questions to be answered.The big one on every Nebraska fans mind is who will be healthy enough to start at quarterback.Senior Tommy Armstrong Jr. missed last Saturdays 28-7 win over Maryland with a hamstring injury. Backup Ryker Fyfe took Armstrongs place, but come to find out he broke a bone in his left wrist and had surgery on Sunday to repair it.Armstrong said Tuesday after practice that he will be able to play. Coach Mike Riley said Fyfe might be available. If neither can go, Nebraska is left with No. 3 quarterback Zack Darlington.We have a good feeling that Tommys going to be able to do something, Riley said. We have a good feeling that Ryker is going to be able to do something.Riley would feel even better if any of the quarterbacks could help the 16th-ranked Cornhuskers (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) come away with a victory at Iowa (7-4, 5-3) in Kinnick Stadium (3:30 p.m., ABC). That would give Nebraska 10 wins -- a significant turnaround from a 5-7 record in Rileys first season in 2015.Nebraska is also playing for a chance at a Big Ten West Division co-championship and an outside shot at the conference championship game next week in Indianapolis. To get there, the Cornhuskers need to take care of business against Iowa and hope for a Minnesota upset of Wisconsin, leaving them alone atop the standings.If Nebraska and Wisconsin win this weekend, they tie for the division title. But the Badgers get to advance based on their 23-17 overtime win over the Cornhuskers on Oct. 29.I think it would be awesome to get the 10th win. Its not that common, Riley said. Theres not going to be that many people in the picture of double digit wins during the season.Theres lots of reasons to win this game. Its Iowa, its a rival game, its a chance to win the division to get to the Big Ten championship game. Its 10 wins. Its a better bowl game. Theres a bunch of reasons.Nebraskas record against Iowa since it joined the Big Ten in 2011 is 3-2. The road team has won the last four games, including the Cornhuskers epic rally to beat Iowa 37-34 in overtime two years ago in Kinnick Stadium.It seems like a really great natural rivalry that will just do nothing but grow and become bigger and bigger, Riley said. I mean, just the proximity, kind of the like-mindedness, I just think its a perfect fit that way.Last year, the Hawkeyes won 28-20 in Lincoln to cap a perfect 12-0 regular season. Iowa is nowhere near that level this year, but they still could tie for the Big Ten West title with a win and a Wisconsin loss, which would create a four-team logjam at the top.ddddddddddddAt the end of the day, its what happens at game time, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said of the rivalry game. Doesnt matter if youve been playing for the last hundred years or havent played. Its about what happens at game time and how that thing goes.Iowa seems to have found its identity the past two weeks by relying on an airtight defense and a run-heavy offense. The Hawkeyes claimed their first Big Ten shutout since 2009 with a 28-0 victory at Illinois last Saturday.Iowa followed a similar formula the week before against Michigan in the stunning 14-13 upset that handed the Wolverines their first and only loss of the season. A pride-bruising, humiliating 41-14 loss to Penn State three weeks ago seemed to jolt the Hawkeyes into suddenly playing their best football of the year at the tail end of the schedule.Weve got our work cut out, and well see what we can do this week, Ferentz said. Its going to be a big challenge for us.Nebraska can expect to see play of Iowas two running backs. Senior LeShun Daniels Jr. and junior Akrum Wadley are taking turns leading the Hawkeyes in rushing.Two weeks ago, Wadley carried Iowa against Michigan with 112 yards rushing. Last week against Illinois, Daniels ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns.Both backs are closing in on 1,000 yards for the season. Wadley has 861 yards and Daniels is right behind with 855. With Fridays game and a bowl game remaining, both could get there.Weve got two guys that we have confidence in, Ferentz said. The best thing is they complement each other. Theyre different, yet they can kind of play off each other a little bit, and there is certainly room for both.Iowa is surviving on nothing more than simple, straight-ahead, power football. In November when the temperatures turn colder and the snow sometimes flies, ground and pound can often be a winning strategy in Big Ten country.Good defense also wins games this time of year in the cold north country. Iowas defense has played lights out the past two weeks. 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