England lose ODI series to India, but performance pleases Cook
ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook paid tribute to Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina after the pair guided India to a five-wicket victory in the fourth one-day international at Mohali.
After opening batsman Sharma (83) had given the hosts a nice springboard, Raina ensured they took an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series with a marvellous unbeaten 89 off 79 balls to guide India past England's 257-5.
The left-hander did benefit from a slice of luck, however, when he edged Steven Finn to slip when on 41, only for umpire Steve Davis to call dead ball after the paceman had collided with the stumps in his delivery stride.
That did not detract from a fine innings, which included a partnership of 68 for the fourth wicket with Sharma – one Cook felt changed the game in India's favour.
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"I think that partnership between Raina and Rohit Sharma really changed the game. When he (Raina) came in the momentum changed very quickly and we just tried to stop the scoring," said Cook, pictured.
"But I thought we put on a good performance today, the conditions weren't quite in our favour and to get it so close, I thought we played quite well."
England struggled to get to grips with the pitch after losing the toss, although Cook and Kevin Pietersen both contributed 76, while Joe Root made a lasting impression with an unbeaten half-century as the tourists added 100 runs to their score in the last ten overs.
"The ball clearly nipped around pretty much throughout our whole innings, but as the dew came down it started to skid on a little bit," said Cook.
"We knew that if we could load ourselves in those last ten overs with our batters in, we had a chance to get between 250 and 260, which is a good score on that wicket."
Yorkshireman Root played a key part in England's innings late on and his 57 not out from 45 balls earned glowing praise from his captain.
Cook said: "He did really play well, he's good at moving the ball around. The shots he had at the end, I don't think we've seen them before and his strike rate of 130 or thereabouts is really pleasing and the way he handles himself on himself is excellent."
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes his bowlers laid the platform for yesterday's victory – in spite of them conceding 100 runs in the final ten overs.
"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 ten 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."