220 wasn't enough - Cook
Alastair Cook bemoaned the collective failure of England’s batsmen to compile a significant score after the tourists suffered a fourth straight defeat at the hands of India.
After running their hosts close in Mohali three days ago, Cook’s men were once again beaten by a wide margin today, losing by six wickets with almost 10 overs to spare.
Tim Bresnan’s 45 was the highest score in England’s 220 all out, yet both Virat Kohli, with 86 not out, and Suresh Raina, who clubbed 80 from 62 balls, had no problems in going on as they helped their side recover from a shaky start.
A frustrated Cook said: “We fell short again. A lot of our top order got in. It’s been quite similar over this tour - a lot of 30s and 40s. We know in Indian conditions, once you get in, you have got to get a 70, 80 or 90 if you want to build a 300 total.
“It’s always a lot harder for new batters coming in. You can lose wickets in clusters and we did that today. We kept losing consistent wickets and 220 wasn’t enough."
Cook was able to reflect more positively on England’s bowling, in particular Steven Finn who continued his impressive form with 3-45.
“He’s been outstanding on this tour on wickets he probably wouldn’t crawl out of bed to bowl on,” Cook added. “He’s been bowling in the 90s consistently and bowling heavy lengths. He’s been fantastic."
The skipper also had words a praise for international debutant Stuart Meaker and Scott Borthwick, who won his second ODI cap.
“Meaks did bowl well. We know he can bowl quickly, but a lot of international cricket is how you handle yourself in high-pressure situations, in terms of the crowd,” he said.
“So I though Stuart bowled well and Scotty Borthwick did as well. Okay, his figures might have bowled eight an over, but we had quite attacking fields for a young leg-spinner and he’s certainly one for the future.”
Although England are now only one game away from suffering a series whitewash, Cook is satisfied with the level of effort being put in by his side.
“I can’t fault the desire or the commitment of the lads, in training and especially in the field. We’re just not quite performing to our potential at the moment,” he explained.
“We’re definitely talking about the right things; it’s just ‘executing’ them out in the middle.
“We haven’t played as well as we would have liked, but we certainly haven’t left anything on the field. I can only thank the players for that. We’ve got one more effort in Kolkata and we’re desperate to try and get this win.”
Cook is also enjoying the challenge of captaincy, despite England’s poor results in India to date.
“I’ve had better couple of weeks, I won’t lie to you,” he said.
“But you know when you take over a young side it’s never always going to be that straightforward. It’s certainly a challenge, and one that I am strangely enjoying.”
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni felt the performance of spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, on a day when England opted to rest Graeme Swann, had proven key.
Off-spinner Ashwin returned figures of 3-38 from 10 overs, while left-armer Jadeja chipped in with 2-41.
Dhoni said: “They got off to a very good start. After 10 overs, most of us thought it looked like a wicket where they may be able to score 270-plus runs, but there was a twist in the tale. Once the spinners started bowling, they got more and more turn. I think that was the main reason why we were able to restrict them.”
Looking towards the final match in Kolkata on Tuesday, the wicketkeeper-batsman added: “I think we have played good cricket throughout the series. We would like to finish it on a good note but you have to play good cricket.”