England slump to heavy defeat
England were soundly beaten as India levelled the Airtel Series with a 127-run victory in the second one-day international at Kochi.
Sixty thousand raucous fans saw Mahendra Singh Dhoni (72) and Ravindra Jadeja (61 not out) change the game with a thrilling first-innings stand of 96 in 60 balls, dragging the hosts back from a modest start to post 285 for six.
Kevin Pietersen appeared England's best hope of success but when Bhuvneshwar Kumar removed him and Eoin Morgan in the space of three deliveries the game was up and the tourists rolled over for just 158.
It was harsh on England's bowlers, who had showed admirable discipline for 40 overs but had no answer for the late power-hitting of Dhoni and Jadeja.
Kumar and Ravichandran Ashwin each took three wickets, with Jadeja's good day continuing with a pair of cheap scalps.
The margin of victory does not tell the full story, with England exerting good pressure at times, but the losing nine wickets for 100 runs is a collapse that requires attention.
England's chase began ominously with Ian Bell, the form player on tour, following a wide loosener from Shami Ahmed and feathering behind.
Alastair Cook looked in decent touch, finding the ropes with a couple of effortless cover drives, but it was Pietersen who seemed to carry the side's hopes.
He gave himself a handful of sighters before he started playing his shots and was rewarded with four boundaries in 10 balls.
Ishant Sharma's first over cost 13, Pietersen again to the fore, but Cook was gone moments later, Kumar winning a questionable lbw verdict to make it 58 for two.
England's run-rate was good but Kumar changed the game in the 15th over, accounting for both Pietersen and Morgan, England's likeliest match-winners. Pietersen was bowled between bat and pad after some unnecessary footwork backfired and two balls later Morgan nicked one to Dhoni for a duck.
The momentum had altered irreversibly.
Joe Root, playing his maiden ODI innings, made a tidy 36 but by then England were on damage limitation. The 22-year-old Yorkshireman looked more at ease than Craig Kieswetter, out for an awkward 18, but was expertly undone by the spin of Jadeja.
The tail then crumbled without resistance.
Chris Woakes was lbw to Jadeja for nought, while Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed James Tredwell and Steven Finn with successive deliveries.
The latter was inexplicably given out caught behind, but the error was hardly critical.
Jade Dernbach was run out to end proceedings, with the capacity crowd roaring their approval.
India's eventual total had seemed all but impossible until Dhoni and Jadeja's late histrionics, which saw 108 added in the last 10 overs.
England started with impressive control, Dernbach and Finn both hitting the stumps in the first five overs to send back openers Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane.
Finn's opening burst of four overs cost just five runs, but Yuvraj Singh played positively to get India's boundary count moving.
He and Virat Kohli took the score to 44 after 10 overs, Yuvraj leading the charge until he was incorrectly given out lbw to Tredwell's second ball.
Kohli and Suresh Raina then put on 48, before the former picked out Bell to give Woakes a wicket.
Raina hit the first of two swept sixes off Tredwell but a 30-over score of 136 for four looked light.
Raina and Dhoni should have been set for the batting powerplay but instead England excelled, Finn and Dernbach conceding just 21 runs in five overs. The wicket of Raina, playing on to Finn for 55, was the icing on the cake.
But Dhoni, perhaps fired up by an angry exchange with Dernbach, was soon showing off.
After a slow start, he started to find the ropes with regularity, taking on Woakes, Finn and Dernbach and scoring at will as he reached 50 in 56 balls.
Jadeja proved a willing accomplice, outgunning even his captain's strike-rate with eight boundaries and two sixes in an electric 37-ball stay.
Dhoni managed seven fours and two maximums before eventually falling to Dernbach, somewhat inevitably caught on the ropes.