Cook downbeat as Kohli century inspires England’s Delhi destruction

DEMORALISED England captain Alastair Cook admits his side have been mentally weak in allowing India to open up a 2-0 series lead following yesterday’s crushing eight-wicket defeat in Delhi.

Following Friday’s 126-run loss in Hyderabad England were keen to make a positive start on what appeared to be a batting friendly track.

Instead, the tourists found themselves immediately behind the eight ball with Cook and his opening partner Craig Kieswetter sent back to the hutch without troubling the scorers.

Kevin Pietersen top scored with 46 in a total of 237 all out which India chased down with 80 balls remaining on the back of a mammoth 209-run partnership between Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli, who made an unbeaten 112 on his home ground.

“We’ve had an excellent preparation and got everything out of the practice matches that we wanted. But we’ve not delivered out in the middle, maybe it’s a bit of a mental thing,” conceded Cook (inset), who was frustratingly out to the fourth ball of the match, slashing a Praveen Kumar long-hop straight to backward point.

“We were none for two and quite a long way back. 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.”

After a winless two-month summer tour of England, during which India lost their No1 Test ranking and were soundly beaten in the one-dayers, the boot is now firmly on the other foot.

India can clinch a series win on Thursday in Mohali at the earliest possible opportunity and captain MS Dhoni is proud of the way his side has reacted following the disappointment of the summer.

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.”

Tim Bresnan had offered England some hope defending a sub-standard total by removing both openers before the score had hit 30. But Kohli, in tandem with Gambhir, steadied the ship before accelerating out of sight.

“I was really keen to perform and luckily I pulled it off,” said Kohli. “At 29-2 it was doing a bit and the bowlers were getting bounce.

“But I played on a similar wicket in the IPL and it was coming on beautifully so it suited my strokes.”