England captain Alastair Cook bemoaned another sub-standard batting display as India enjoyed a clinical seven-wicket win in the third one-day international.
After starting the trip by racking up an imposing 325 to defend in Rajkot, England have now been rolled over well short of 200 on successive occasions and trail 2-1 in the five-match Airtel series.
Yesterday's batting effort was little short of embarrassing, the tourists being dismissed for 155 with 7.4 overs still to be bowled. They then looked on as India knocked off the target in just 28.1 overs to make light of their struggles earlier in the day.
Loading article content
The 39,000 fans who flocked to the first international fixture in Ranchi and witnessed a dream finish – local boy Mahendra Singh Dhoni pulling the winning runs to the boundary – will spare little thought to England's batting woes, but Cook does not have that luxury.
"We didn't get enough runs. It is a concern, of course," said the England skipper. "It is frustrating when you don't play to your potential as a batting unit and we need to do that if we are to have a chance of winning out here. When you don't, you get punished for it. We've got to be clear and start producing the goods out in the middle and not just talk about it.
"We've got some quality players in our dressing room who can, on their day, win games for England and if we want to win we need to stand up as batsmen and deliver."
This whistle-stop one-day tour of India leaves no time for introspection, with the teams leaving for Mohali this morning, but Cook acknowledges the need for some serious thinking. He is without rested trio Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott and James Anderson, but has only used 12 players in three matches and may now be forced to consider the claims of fringe players such as Jos Buttler, Stuart Meaker and Danny Briggs.
Of those, only Buttler would affect the misfiring batting order, but Cook will look at the make-up of the side nevertheless. "It is hurting now and it will do for a day or so," he said. "I think you do have to look at alternatives within the squad, certainly. To not look at it would be wrong, it is early days so we need to let the dust settle, but we need to look and see if we're missing a trick."
As for India, they can be more than satisfied with their day's work. There were two wickets apiece for Ishant Sharma and newly-confident Ravichandran Ashwin, while Ravindra Jadeja again bamboozled England to pick up three for 19. Virat Kohli also made a timely 77 not out, but the icing on the cake was Dhoni's late cameo. His adoring public were desperate for the hometown hero to make an appearance with the bat and he went in ahead of Suresh Raina to hit the winning runs in fitting fashion.
Dhoni was quick to credit his team-mate for the promotion. He explained: "I was just there sitting next to Raina, who was supposed to go in next and he said to me 'why don't you go in?' Usually it is his slot, but I said 'OK, I'll give it a go'.