England were outplayed - Cook
Alastair Cook admitted England fell short of the standards required as they suffered a heavy loss in the first of five one-day internationals against India.
After avoiding defeat to India in all three formats this summer, the tourists were beaten by 126 runs under the floodlights at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad today.
India’s score of 300 for seven, underpinned by a brutal unbeaten 70-ball 87 from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, appeared formidable before England slumped to 174 all out in 36.1 overs as spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin shared six wickets.
“We were outplayed in all three departments. “You don't get close to winning a game when you do that," said Cook after his team lost their last eight wickets for 63 runs.
“All three departments weren't up to the standards we've shown in the past. That's why we are on the back end of a heavy defeat.
“A total of 260-270 (would have been par) on that wicket. It was an important toss to win – you saw at the end the pitch did misbehave – but I'm not blaming that at all.
“Those last 20 overs went for 180 runs so that was a tough time for us. We are going to have to learn from this and that’s the beauty of a five-match series - you’ve got four more chances.
“We’re going to have to stay very tight as a team, very strong, analyse where we went wrong and hopefully put in a better performance in a couple of days' time.”
Asked about England’s struggles against spin in this fixture, Cook replied: “We know that’s an issue. That’s a skill thing and we’re going to have to work hard at it over the next couple of days to try and address that.”
England won both their warm-up matches, against a Hyderabad Cricket Association XI, during an 11-day preparation period for the ODI series.
But India were notably switched on to try to erase the memory of their 3-0 NatWest Series defeat in England last month.
Cook, who top-scored with 60, was at a loss to explain why England had been so far short of the limited-overs standards they established on home turf against Sri Lanka and then India during the summer.
"I can't put my finger on why,” he said. “We were unusually sloppy in the field. We made mistakes today, and got punished heavily for it.”
Dhoni, Cook’s opposite number, could afford himself immense satisfaction on a personal and team level.
“It was a valuable innings; it was very calculated," he said of his contribution with the bat, which was constructed from 123 for four. “I've adapted to the number six position. It was a precious innings.
“We batted well. Though we lost wickets at the wrong time, the batting was really good overall.
“When we saw the wicket and the way it behaved, most of us were looking at a score close to 250, but we batted well in the last few overs. I think 260 would have been a good score.”
Dhoni again took issue with the suggestion that his team are out to avenge their humbling in England – in all formats of the game.
"It was not about revenge. That is a very strong feeling, a strong word,” he said.
"Winning and losing are part and parcel of the game. It's just that our losing streak was a bit too long, especially in the ODIs in England.”
Dhoni also paid tribute to Jadeja, who contributed a brisk 27 with the bat in addition to three key wickets in successive overs.
“He brings that stability to the side because he’s a proper batsman,” said Dhoni. “He has improved his game a lot, especially his batting, and we all know he’s a very good bowler.”