England captain laments lack of partnership as Kohli and Gambhir put on a record one for the third wicket in New Delhi.
Dhoni happy to be on winning side after India go 2-0 up over England
NEW DELHI // Alistair Cook, the England captain, challenged his players to turn their starts into hundreds after his side lost their second one-day international against India by eight wickets.
Batting first on a good track in Delhi, the tourists were nought for two after Cook and Craig Kieswetter went early, while Kevin Pietersen's 46 was England's highest score.
Jonathan Trott (34), Ravi Bopara (36), Jonny Bairstow (35) and Samit Patel (42) all got starts, but none were able to cash in, unlike India's Virat Kohli (112 not out) and Gautam Gambhir (84no) whose third-wicket partnership of 209 helped the home side chase down England's 237 all out with some ease.
"We were none for two and quite a long way back," Cook told Sky Sports at the post-match presentation.
"There were a lot of 30s and 40s, and we know that doesn't win the game. Virat and Gambhir showed us what a partnership can do.
"It was a very good wicket and we got 30, 40, 50 runs too few, but credit to the way India played. They didn't give us anything.
"We've prepared well for games but haven't translated it into performances in the main games. It's in there somewhere but we have got to drag it out.
"We need to score more runs and our fielding wasn't at the standard we set."
After a winless two-month tour of England during the summer, India are now 2-0 up in this five-match series.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, though, insisted performances still come before results. He said: "I'm really happy we are on the winning side. The series in England was not a good one, but we showed character.
"We didn't get frustrated, we remained social on the field and didn't lose our temper. It's good to be on the winning side now.
"But we take it one win at a time. We can only win one game at a time, and to do that, we have to do the right things and, whatever the result, it is about improving ourselves as cricketers."
Playing on his home ground, Kohli, whose runs came in just 98 balls, picked up the man of the match award.
Kohli improved after the seam bowler Vinay Kumar had picked up a career-best haul of four for 30 as India chased down their target with 80 balls to spare.
Kohli struck 16 fours off 98 balls during his seventh one-day century and Gambhir 10 fours off 90 as the local pair settled well to find the gaps and were also helped by some sloppy fielding.
The duo made up for the early dismissals of openers Parthiv Patel and Ajinkya Rahane, who were both removed during a lively spell by pace bowler Tim Bresnan.
"It is good to see our players take responsibility," India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said. "Kohli has been batting brilliantly and I hope he continues to bat the way he has been batting."
Cook was confident though that England, which had lost the first game in Hyderabad by 126 runs, could still turn it around.
"We have prepared well but we have to produce it in the middle. The conditions obviously play a huge part. Just as India struggled in England, we are struggling in India.
"We have the players who have the talent to turn it around for us, but we have to produce it out there. We just have to stick to basics," Cook said.