(Reuters) - India’s summer of discontent showed no signs of ending on Tuesday after a captain’s knock by Alastair Cook ensured England romped to a seven-wicket win in the rain-shortened second one-dayer at Southampton.
Five months after lifting the World Cup amid joyous celebrations on home soil, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men were left to digest their sixth successive international defeat during what is turning out to be a wretched tour of England.
“It was a tough day. I think we batted well to put almost 190 on the board. Nothing really went our way. A bit of improvement is needed in the bowling department,” a downcast Dhoni said during the presentation ceremony.
After being humiliated 4-0 in the test series, India also came off second best in a Twenty20 match last week.
Rain washed out the first one-dayer in Durham and the Indians will probably be wishing Tuesday’s match had been a washout as well after a torrential downpour delayed the start by almost five hours.
Once the weather relented, Ajinkya Rahane made the most of his role as stand-in opener to score his first ODI half-century in only his second one-dayer.
With regular openers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag ruled out of the series injured, Rahane rattled up 54 off 47 balls as he shared a 79-run partnership with Rahul Dravid (32).
A quickfire 40 off 19 balls from Suresh Raina helped India to post what looked like a respectable 187 for eight in a match reduced to 23 overs a side.
However, Cook, who was overlooked by selectors for the World Cup but took over as captain of England’s one-day side after Andrew Strauss stepped down, took it upon himself to ensure India’s losing run continued.
He found the wet outfield to his liking and punished India’s toothless bowlers by smacking the ball all over the ground.
He carried his bat to remain not out on 80 from 63 deliveries, belting a six and five fours to continue his rich vein of form. Samit Patel hit the winning run to carry England over the finishing line with five balls to spare.
“A really good day. This wicket was one of the best I’ve batted on for a while. It was fantastic. It was very hard fielding in these conditions, but all in all we had a good day in the field,” said Cook.
England will be looking to extend their lead in the five-match series when the teams move to the Oval in London for the third one-dayer on Friday.