India v England: Lessons learned as tourists are thrashed in Ranchi
India v England: Matt Cansick looks at the lessons learned from the tourists' seven-wicket defeat in the third ODI in Ranchi
India dominate again
Another off day for England’s batsmen allowed India to inflict a second successive heavy defeat, winning by seven wickets with more than twenty overs to spare. As with the previous match, they won the toss, but this time opted to field as both captains believed that dew would become a factor later in the game. India again took wickets with regularity, maintaining control of the game throughout the England innings. Kevin Pietersen was unfortunate to be given out on 17, but Joe Root again played a patient innings as wickets fell around him. He top scored with 39 from 57 balls, but it was not enough for England’s bowlers to defend. Chasing 156 to win, India lost Ajinkya Rahane for a duck, but even with the fall of two more wickets, it was ultimately a straightforward task. Gautam Gambhir contributed 33 and Yuvraj Singh 30, but man-of-the-match Virat Kohli took the game by the scruff of the neck with an unbeaten 77 from 79 balls. Fittingly, it was left to captain MS Dhoni to hit the winning runs in what was the first ODI to be held in his home town of Ranchi.
Poor batting display
Despite the occasional sign of a partnership building after the initial loss of Cook for 17, the story of England’s batting performance was the pairs of wickets that fell throughout their innings. After Pietersen’s unlucky dismissal, Ian Bell followed with no runs added to the total. Eoin Morgan’s disappointing 10 from 30 left England at 97-4, and by the time they got past 98 they had lost both out-of-form Craig Kieswetter and Samit Patel, who both failed to score. Were it not for Root attempting to get a hold on the game, this could have been far more embarrassing for England, and new coach Ashley Giles may be reaching the point where he needs to mix up the batting. Jos Buttler should get a chance ahead of Kieswetter, although most of the other options available are in the bowling department. The only saving grace for England is the knowledge that several of their front-line players have been rested on this trip, but on these performances, there does not appear the same strength in depth that exists in the Test squad.
Response needed from England
The tourists are now 2-1 down in the five-match series, and at the moment do not look like winning either of the remaining games in Mohali and Dharamsala respectively. They have already fallen to third in the ODI rankings, and Cook acknowledged that the batting performances in particular from his side have not been up to scratch so far. This is in stark contrast to the first international in Rajkot, where England put 325 runs on the board and just about held off India to draw first blood in the series. Ian Bell will hope to return to the form that saw him score 85 in that game as he looked uncomfortable in Saturday’s match, and a good start from the openers has worked well for England in recent years. If Bell and Cook are able take the pressure off the middle order with some big partnerships, there may yet be hope for their side in the remaining games, but at the moment it looks like being a matter of time before India seal the series victory.