ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook blasted his side’s sloppiness in the field after a failure to defend 298 allowed India to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the one-day series.
The tourists may have posted their highest score of the tour, built on the back on an unbeaten 98 from Jonathan Trott and a brisk 70 from Samit Patel, but it was merely par for the course on a traditionally batting friendly Mohali track.
That said, England looked set to pull off an unlikely win when Graeme Swann had Monday’s centurion Virat Kohli trapped in front with the score on 235-5 with 8.2 overs remaining and the asking rate inching towards nine.
But skipper MS Dhoni (right), in tandem with Ravindra Jadeja, taking advantage of some poor outfielding and wayward bowling from Jade Dernbach, saw his side home with four balls to spare.
“We’ve stepped up our performance in the last two games – but it’s tough to take when you are so close,” said Cook. “Our fielding has been slightly below par on tour, which is very unusual for us. It cost us 20-25 runs in field – and that was probably the difference today.”
Dhoni, who crashed the last two balls of the match for four to finish on 35 from 31 balls, meanwhile, was unhappy with England’s conduct in the field.
He said: “It’s not only about ‘giving it’ to the opposition. You have to be fair. I think they should change the plan for the next two games.”