Cook keeps the faith
Captain Alastair Cook admits he is “concerned” by a second successive England defeat, but is confident his players can fight back to win the one-day series.
While England’s 237 represented an improvement on the 174 they mustered in Hyderabad, it featured five scores between 34 and 46 and left Cook calling for better with the bat ahead of Thursday’s meeting on Mohali.
“It is a concern to lose like that twice,” said Cook. “Once you can put (it) down to a bad performance, but twice is concerning.”
Cook fell in the first over as England slipped to nought for two, a position from which they never truly recovered despite useful – though far from sizeable – contributions from Jonathan Trott (34), Kevin Pietersen (46), Ravi Bopara (36), Jonny Bairstow (35) and Samit Patel (42).
By contrast, Virat Kohli made a superb unbeaten 112 and Gautam Gambhir 84 not out as India recovered from 29 for two to triumph with 13.2 overs to spare on a true surface at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.
“Only the players can turn things around,” Cook stressed. “We have prepared well and practised well but have just not played, out in the middle.
"The conditions play a huge part. But we were none for two and quite a long way back. There were a lot of 30s and 40s, and we know that doesn’t win the game.
"I believe we have got the players to win here, but everyone has to play to the best of their abilities. We have to do the basics well and we haven't done that.
"The encouraging thing is we have players in good nick. It will not take a massive change.”
Cook reserved praise for Kohli and Gambhir, who added an unbroken 209 for the third wicket to remove any doubts over the result after Tim Bresnan’s double early strike.
“Virat and Gambhir showed us what a partnership can do,” he said. “We need to score more runs and our fielding wasn’t at the standard we set.”
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Cook’s opposite number, echoed those sentiments as he reflected on another polished performance that once again belied India’s struggles in England this summer, when they did not win a competitive game.
“The youngsters are stepping up, and coming up with the performances needed at international level - both with ball and bat," Dhoni said.
Of Kohli, he said: "He is going through a stage where he is really improving as a cricketer, and that is really good to see.
"We shouldn't forget Gautam Gambhir either, because he batted really well.
"The English bowlers were getting a bit of swing, so we really had to get a partnership going.
"We didn't really have to chase too many runs, though, because on that kind of wicket 240 was a slightly under-par score.”
Kohli, whose innings spanned just 98 balls and contained 16 fours, collected the man of the match award on his home ground.
“Being at my home ground is always a special feeling," he said. "I was really keen to perform and luckily I pulled it off.
"At 29 for two it was doing a bit and the bowlers were getting bounce. But I played on a similar wicket in the IPL (Indian Premier League) and it was coming on beautifully, so it suited my strokes.
“I knew if I got a good start I could get boundaries and we just had to put a partnership together.”