India v England: Lessons learned as Cook’s men slump to series defeat
India v England: What lessons did we learn as Alastair Cook's men suffer a five-wicket loss to hand the hosts a series victory?
India seal series win
Suresh Raina hit 89 not out as India completed a successful run chase that gave them a 3-1 one-day international series lead, with only one match remaining. Put in to bat, England made 257-7 from their 50 overs which looked to be a fairly competitive total, but realistically they were always going to need more on the board against an in-form India side. Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen both made 76, and Joe Root played another promising innings in reaching 57 not out from 45 balls, but wickets were hard to come by when the bowlers got to work. Rohit Sharma justified his inclusion with 83 from 93 balls, and Raina was able to see his side home along with Ravindra Jadeja (21 from 27), who hit the winning runs. It was ultimately a comfortable victory for India, who won by five wickets with 15 balls remaining, and goes some way to appeasing the fans left disappointment by the defeat in the Test series.
Mixed bag from England batsmen
England captain Cook was again unfortunate, falling lbw to a ball that pitched outside leg, and must be wondering what he has done to deserve so many bad decisions of late. The side is still lacking impetus at the top of the order, although this seems to be more a case of form than a bad partnership between Cook and Ian Bell. Eoin Morgan and Samit Patel failed again, and Pietersen looked out-of-sorts at the start of his innings, although after reaching his 50 from a pedestrian 84 balls, he set about increasing the run-rate with some lofty blows. Jos Buttler came in to the side for Craig Kieswetter, and it will be interesting to see which of these Somerset team-mates takes the gloves on the forthcoming tour of New Zealand. Buttler made a quick-fire 14 from nine balls in Mohali, and it remains to be seen whether this was a two-match respite for Kieswetter, or a decision to stick with Buttler for the foreseeable future.
Bowling department in need of reinforcements
James Tredwell has proven himself an able deputy during this series, but the rest of the bowling unit has not stepped up to the plate. Steven Finn did remove Raina on 41 but his old problem of hitting the stumps on his follow through resurfaced and a dead ball was called. Bresnan is reliable without being spectacular, but Jade Dernbach has been something of a disappointment. Of course, this is a side without usual first-choice pair James Anderson and Stuart Broad, and England will be a very different proposition when both are playing. There are other options such as Chris Woakes and Stuart Meaker, and it may be worthwhile giving one of these players an opportunity in the final game in place of Dernbach. The spin department aside, beneath the first-choice bowling line-up there does not seem to be a clear pecking order to the replacements, and this is something that should be cleared up ahead of the Champions Trophy in June.
India look to complete rout
With doubts persisting over the suitability of Dharamsala due to the current weather in the area, this may well prove to be the final match of the series. However, if the game does go ahead as planned, then England will want to avoid ending this two-legged tour on a low note. On the other hand, India will want to complete a comprehensive series win with victory in the fifth ODI, and judging by the way they have played to date, it would not be an unfair reflection of how the series has gone. This was always going to be the format in which India were most dangerous, and having won the toss in every match bar the first, they have consistently delivered whether they have been chasing with the bat or defending with the ball. England have some way to go if they are to achieve their aim of returning to number one in the world in 50 over cricket.