England confident India series can be won

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The Independent Online

England remain confident they can battle their way back into the one-day international series against India, even after their ill-tempered hammering at the Feroz Shah Kotla.

Time is short for Alastair Cook's team to respond from 2-0 down and with three to play - starting in Mohali on Thursday - having been trounced by 126 runs in Hyderabad and then eight wickets in Delhi.

But Samit Patel is anticipating a comeback, reasoning that England - who beat India 3-0 on home turf just last month - cannot keep playing so far below their best.

No batsman was able to lead a lasting recovery after both openers made ducks yesterday, and then England's bowlers were on a hiding to nothing trying to defend an inadequate 237 all out.

Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir, both Delhi-born, put them out of their misery but also piled on the embarrassment of the scorebook in an unbroken double-century stand which ended the match more than 13 overs early.

It was a chastening experience for a team who arrived in India with their eyes wide open to the challenges of adapting to sub-Continental conditions, yet have still come up short to date.

Patel does not expect those shortcomings to persist, and admits England will not be above taking their own cue from India's exemplary batting.

"Sometimes, you can learn from the opposition and how they've played," said the all-rounder, whose 42 yesterday was a career-best.

"We've got to put the two games behind us. But we know we're good enough cricketers to compete out here; we know we can turn it around in Mohali.

"I know that if we play to our best, we'll be too strong for them."

England's bowlers, including slow left-armer Patel who conceded 17 runs in just two overs, had no answer once India's third-wicket pair got going.

"We were shown by Kohli and Gambhir how to do it," Patel added.

"But we've got some world-class batters in our team - (Jonathan) Trott, (Kevin) Pietersen and (Ravi) Bopara - and Cook and (Craig) Kieswetter up top have always done a job.

"We've not played to the potential we can play - which is quite difficult to take, knowing we've smashed India at home.

"They are different conditions. But I don't think that's it; we knew exactly what we were going to get here and we've just not played to our best."

The story so far might be dispiriting for some teams - but not Cook's England, Patel insists.

"It's quite tough. Going 2-0 down is not the best," he said.

"But we've got to stay upbeat. The series is still alive.

"We've got to improve, but I don't think we're that far away."

Patel and Jonny Bairstow shared a stand of 86 and at one stage appeared set to help England to a worthwhile total.

"You have to try to dig in for your team, and I thought Jonny played outstandingly well - we just had to try to get a respectable target," Patel said.

"But with 230, we knew we had to scrap. We gave it everything, didn't leave anything out on the pitch. But India were fantastic."

After two defeats by such wide margins, Cook conceded publicly that England will have to at least consider making changes - and acknowledged there is a case for Ian Bell returning to the team.

Patel is conceivably one who could make way, but he knows he must leave those decisions to others - in the knowledge the England collective will kick in, whatever the playing personnel.

"Who knows? That's up to the management," he said, when asked about any possible rethink in selection.

"There could be changes; there could not be. But it's a crunch game, and we stick together."

As for the heated exchanges between some England players and India's batsmen yesterday, Patel echoed his captain's sentiments - that they need to stay aggressive in their body language.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been at pains to insist his team are not out for revenge here, after their own NatWest Series drubbing in England.

But the tourists are mindful of heightened motivation among their hosts, and will make sure they do not become meek - in defeat or victory.

Their behaviour earned the attention of the umpires last night, but did not appear to overstep the mark.

"The brand of cricket we want to play is positive, and I'm sure we'll do that," added Patel.

"Competitiveness out on the pitch is good.

"Some England teams might have come out here and taken a back step. But I'm sure we're not going to do that."