Cook singles out Raina impact
Alastair Cook pinpointed the start of Suresh Raina’s innings as crucial to the five-wicket win that gave India a series victory with a game to spare.
Replying to England’s 257 for seven, the hosts were 90 for three when James Tredwell had Yuvraj Singh lbw.
However, Raina and Rohit Sharma gave them immediate impetus en route to 89 not out and 83 respectively as victory at Mohali came with 15 balls to spare.
Referring to Raina, the captain said: “When he came in the momentum changed very quickly and we couldn’t quite stop them scoring as we would have liked.
“I thought we put in a good performance today. I don’t think the conditions were quite in our favour and to get it so close I thought we played quite well.”
Cook, who lost the toss, and Kevin Pietersen both made 76 before Joe Root’s unbeaten 57 lifted the tourists to a competitive total.
“Clearly it nipped around pretty much throughout our whole innings and then as the dew came down it skidded on a little bit,” he added.
“We knew that if we could load ourselves those last 10 overs with out batters in, we had a chance of getting up to 250, 260 which is a pretty good score on that wicket.”
Root’s first one-day international fifty, coming from just 43 deliveries, was inventive and helped England score 100 from the last 10 overs.
“He did really play well,” Cook enthused. “Obviously he’s good at moving the ball around. I thought the shots that he played at the end, I don’t think we’d seen them before.
“And to score I think at a 130 strike-rate like that is really pleasing and I thought the way he handles himself on the field is excellent.”
Home skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was naturally happy with his side’s display.
“I think overall it was a very good performance. We were right on the spot with the new ball, which I feel is always important,” he said.
“A lot of sides look to save wickets in the first 10 overs because all of them know from 36 to 40 overs they can have a second powerplay and then afterwards if they have wickets in hand they can really score big runs.
“I think we started off well and didn’t let them get off (to a good start).”
Dhoni was particularly satisfied by the recalled Rohit, who opened the batting in place of Ajinkya Rahane.
“He’s one of the most gifted cricketers that we have seen so unfortunately he has not done really well with whatever opportunities he has got, but it’s a waste if he can’t really make it,” he added.
“So there was an opportunity. We gave him some time in a sense. We had a chat about him opening the innings at the start of the series. He was grateful to accept it.
“I think it was a really good performance by him. He’s someone who is a natural puller; he pulls the ball well, you can’t really bowl too many short balls at him.”