England skipper Alastair Cook has leapt to the defence of his side after they suffered a 246-run pummelling at the hands of a rampant India in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.
The tourists began the day on 87-2 needing to bat three sessions to avoid a 1-0 deficit in the five-match series but had lost five wickets by lunch and eventually wilted to a paltry 158 all out.
Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow was stranded on 34 not out as the rest of England’s batting line-up collapsed around him and India’s off-break bowler Jayant Yadav claimed 3-30.
“It’s hard when you lose any Test match but actually we played some good cricket at certain stages of these first two games and we’ve managed to put India under some pressure,” said Cook.
“Nothing really changes, we’ve got to win a couple of games to get us back in this series. It’s a really exciting place to be as a side. Yes, we’ve lost this game but we can hold our heads up high and there are lots of things to be encouraged on.”
Northamptonshire batsman Ben Duckett’s place in side is under scrutiny after making just 18 runs in three innings against India and struggling technically against the hosts’ spin attack.
Lancashire’s Jos Buttler, playing as a specialist batsman, has been touted as a possible replacement for the third Test in Mohali, which starts on Saturday.
“It is certainly something Alastair Cook and I will sit down and have a chat about,” said head coach Trevor Bayliss. “Ben Duckett has probably worked harder than anyone else in the nets but it shows it is a long way between county cricket and Test cricket.
“I’m more than comfortable with Jos Buttler playing as a batter. He’s been hitting the ball quite well in the nets.”
India captain Virat Kohli, meanwhile, poked fun at England’s conservative approach and lack of conviction at chasing down a notional 405 as they chose instead to bat out the best part of five sessions.
“We thought they would come out with more intent,” he said. “And to see the approach they had obviously gave us assurance that once we get a couple of wickets it will crumble pretty quickly.”
The scorecard made grim reading for England and their loss was their second heaviest to India in terms of runs, although the 97.3 overs faced was the third longest they have batted for in a fourth innings in India, albeit for scant reward.