Pieterson defends team selection

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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen insisted England had not made a mistake in picking an unchanged team after slumping to another heavy defeat in the second one-day international against India.

Three days after being hammered by 158 runs in Rajkot, England today suffered a 54 runs defeat with Yuvraj Singh claiming back-to-back centuries and a haul of four for 28 with his part-time left-arm spin against the tourists' unchanged line-up.

But Pietersen insisted that keeping faith with the same line-up was the right decision despite watching his side get dismissed for 238, including losing their last seven wickets for 55 runs, in reply to India's commanding total of 292 for nine.

"I didn't want to change the side, I wanted to give the guys the confidence to know that they could turn things around," explained England captain Pietersen.

"You could say conditions favoured them and if we'd bowled second then it might have been different, but the team we went in with, we thought could win this fixture and be more competitive and we were today."

Despite another healthy margin of defeat, Pietersen believes England's display at Nehru Stadium was a sign of progress having had India reeling on 29 for three until Yuvraj hit a superb 118 off 122 balls.

"We've made a marked improvements from the first game, when we were totally outplayed and were out of it from 30 overs onwards," he stressed.

"We certainly got a good start here today, but we probably weren't aggressive and didn't carry that through and we probably thought it would just happen for us, which is a mistake of ours.

"The bowlers tried their hearts out and the batters definitely gave us a good run but we needed someone to get a big score like Yuvraj did."

Asked how he intended to deal with the problem presented by Yuvraj before Thursday's match in Kanpur, Pietersen joked: "I'm going to take Yuvraj out at the hotel tonight and make sure he doesn't come to Kanpur."

India all-rounder Yusuf Pathan, who hammered a quickfire 50 off only 29 balls to help India add 82 in the last 10 overs, admitted even their own bowlers struggle against Yuvraj at practice.

"We find it difficult bowling to him in the nets so we're just the same as England, but we're not going to give them any tips on it," he said.

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