England captain seeks big scores in India

New Delhi, November 21:

England need big scores in India if the tourists are to turn around a 3-0 deficit in the seven-match one-day series, captain Kevin Pietersen said here on Friday.

“We knew coming to India we needed to score hundreds to stay competitive and we have not got a hundred yet,” Pietersen said. “Hopefully in the next four games we can try and get four.”

England were outplayed in the first two matches after scintillating centuries from Indian left-hander Yuvraj Singh, before losing a closer contest in Kanpur on Thursday under the Duckworth-Lewis system due to bad light.

The tourists must win Sunday’s day-night game in Bangalore to stay alive in the series that precedes next month’s two Test matches.

“Playing against spin is definitely something England’s cricketers need to work on,” Pietersen said. “We have played in India for years now and there have only been a few centuries by England batsmen out here. Unfortunately, playing in India you need to score big runs and when you get in you have got to get hundreds.”

Pietersen’s 63 in the first match at Rajkot is the highest score by an England batsman so far in the series, while Ravi Bopara has scored two half-centuries and Owais Shah one. In contrast, Yuvraj’s hundreds at Rajkot and Indore have been backed by five half-centuries from the hosts.

However, Pietersen was confident all was not lost for the tourists. “We are certainly getting closer,” he said. “I think if we had a full game in Kanpur, we would have definitely taken it close. We put a lot of pressure on them and there was plenty of aggression from the bowlers.

But the thing we need to learn is that once we get a start, we should get hundreds. I am sure if we do that, we will be very competitive for the rest of the series.”

India, chasing 240 in Kanpur on Thursday, were 198-5 in 40 overs when bad light stopped play and left the hosts winners by 16 runs under the D/L system. The next two games in Bangalore and Cuttack are day-night matches but Pietersen fears a repeat of Kanpur when the sixth one-dayer is played in Guwahati, where daylight hours are shorter, on November 29.

“They will have to do something about Guwahati,” the England captain said. “We are going to start there at 8.30am but that will still not make too much of a difference. It could get dark there by 3.30pm.” When England last visited Guwahati in 2006, the one-day international match was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to overnight rain.