India cruised to another ODI victory over England at Trent Bridge on Saturday to go 2-0 up in the series.
The visitors won by six wickets under very little pressure as they chased 228, but much of the focus will be on another dispiriting defeat for the Three Lions.
After being put into bat first, Alex Hales and Alastair Cook got off to a bright start, perhaps in response to former spinner Graeme Swann’s public criticism of the latter’s place in the side.
Yet, despite having initially made relatively easy work of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the pair both fell short of their half-centuries, Cook top scoring with 44, while Hales made 42.
Cook is still having a bit of a tough time, but on a positive note for Hales, he led the way for much of the opening partnership but eventually lost his wicket in frustration.
Sir Ian Botham dismissed England’s 2015 World Cup chances earlier this week on account of their difficulties against India’s spinners, and that proved to be the case once again as the Three Lions’ middle order was torn apart with ease, even with relatively little spin on the pitch.
Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, and Ian Bell did not put in their best performances, though wicket-keeper Jos Buttler typically displayed his ODI credentials with a knock of 42 before being clean bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin.
James Tredwell was also one of few bright lights for England, with the player staking his claim as England’s regular one-day spinner, hitting 30 with the bat and later taking 1-46. It is unlikely that Peter Moores will take two spinners to the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, though it would be an unpopular decision to dispense with Moeen Ali.
Once again, it fell to Chris Woakes to get England underway with the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan, but more generally, England toiled.
The World Cup holders justified their title with another seemingly simple performance, but their task was made easier by England’s lack of resolve.
Lack of cutting edge
Missing Stuart Broad, it was a bowling attack that lacked a cutting edge, though Tredwell and Steven Finn looked impressive.
Finn came into the side to replace Chris Jordan after the all-rounder’s struggles in the second ODI, and put in a confident display.
However, Moores’ decision to make a change has come under the microscope nonetheless. England still appear unsure of their best eleven with the World Cup just six months away.
At the same time, they have persisted with a number of non-ODI specialists, while the likes of Michael Lumb and Jason Roy remain confined in the County Championship.
The ECB’s decision to appoint one man to coach in all forms of the game has the consequence that some players have been picked on their Test form, while in contrast, India looked altogether fresher and more at home playing ODI cricket.
Having failed to compete in Cardiff, England will be disappointed that India were handed another comfortable victory and will go into the final two matches with pride restored after their Test mauling.