Giles looks to top order for improvement

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Ashley Giles has challenged England’s top order to lay the platform for substantial scores in the two remaining one-day internationals against India.

The tourists impressed with the bat in the series-opener at Rajkot, where an imposing total of 325 for four was successfully defended.

However, runs have proven harder to come by since then and captain Alastair Cook demanded an improvement on Saturday after his side were bowled out cheaply for a second match in succession.

England’s top three of Cook, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen boast 311 ODI caps - and 16 format centuries - between them, so it is hardly surprising that Giles expects the trio to lead by example.

“We are going to lose wickets , but when we lose wickets it’s important we consolidate,” the limited-overs head coach told ecb.co.uk following the team’s arrival in Chandigarh.

“We’ve got a lot of experience at the top of the order and the way we play our cricket we need one of those guys to get us a score.

Ian Bell & Alastair Cook

Ian Bell and Alastair Cook, pictured, form part of an experienced England top three that Ashley Giles has urged to lead by example

“If one of those guys gets us a score we’re going to put a good total on the board but it’s not worked in the last couple of games.

“If you get 150, 155 with the bat, you’re not going to win many games of cricket around the world and particularly in India.”

Giles concedes morale has been hit by the defeats in Kochi and Ranchi, but sees no reason why England cannot regain momentum in Wednesday’s fourth ODI, which takes place in Mohali.

“The important thing now, and I know it’s always easy to say, is we have to look forward,” he added.

“It’s easy to be down on yourself. I said to the guys that I don’t need them to show me how disappointed they are. I know they are disappointed. What I need them to show me is the fight they have going into the next game and of course the improvement in skill as well. We’ve got to play better cricket.”

England can also take heart from the fact the series remains alive, something that could not be said heading into the fourth match of previous rubbers in India.

“The last couple of series here have been over at this stage, so we have an opportunity still,” said Giles.

“The window is open but it’s important we start playing better and if we get an opportunity, take it.”

Giles' thoughts on England's batting were echoed by Bell, who added: “We have to keep believing we can win and we’ve shown we can do that.

Bell continued: “There’s no doubt we set a platform in the first match. If we get a platform, our middle order is very powerful and destructive. But we need a foundation for our big hitters in the middle to get us going.

“We’ve shown we can do it in the first ODI, but maybe we didn’t adapt well enough to conditions since, certainly in the last game.

“In the final two games we need to get into a position to hurt India at the back end of the innings.”

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