Sir Ian Botham said England's batting failure in the second ODI against India was 'criminal'
Last Updated: 15/01/13 3:15pm
Ravindra Jadeja: struck eight fours and two sixes to power India to an imposing total
'Clueless' England must come out fighting in Saturday's third one-day international against India after losing by 127 runs in Kochi, says Sir Ian Botham.
The tourists slipped down to number two in the ICC ODI rankings after being bowled out for just 158 in 36 overs in reply to India's imposing 285-6, which featured 72 from skipper MS Dhoni.
"England looked clueless; they didn't keep the board ticking. There were long periods where they scored no runs; if you do that you put yourself under pressure."
Sir Ian Botham
Ravindra Jadeja weighed in with 61no off 37 balls and followed up by taking 2-12 to earn the man-of-the-match award as the home side made light work of rolling England over to level the five-match series 1-1.
"It was a very, very poor performance from England, it has to be said," Botham told Sky Sports. "Ok, the pitch did a bit more as the game went on but they didn't use 14 overs - that's criminal; you just can't do that in one-day cricket.
"You'd expect there to be a sting in the tail [after losing the first ODI] but England had them in a bit of trouble. But there were a couple of great partnerships and Dhoni and Jadeja both played magnificently.
"England, in reply, were going along alright but they lost a couple of wickets and suddenly the deck of cards went - again, against spin.
"Conditions did change but I don't think it's an excuse - not for that kind of performance. If India hadn't bowled Sharma in the middle of the innings for as long as they did and bowled Ravichandran Ashwin earlier, England might have been out 10 overs earlier because England looked all at sea.
"They looked clueless; they didn't keep the board ticking. There were long periods where they scored no runs; if you do that you put yourself under pressure.
"India are now back in the series and England have got to come out fighting in the next game at Ranchi."
Ashwin, who claimed 3-39, admitted that the victory would come as something of a relief for India's players, who suffered a one-day series defeat to Pakistan hard upon losing the Test series against England at the end of last year.
Botham agreed and said the manner of the victory would help to ease some of the pressure that has been growing on the team's management and senior players.
"It will lift them and the country because a lot of people have been asking questions - about Dhoni, about [coach] Duncan Fletcher, about whether senior players should still be in the side," he said.
"The fact is that everybody in India, including the players, will be breathing a big sigh of relief. As Ashwin said 'we did not need to go 2-0 down' and they didn't.
"I think the conditions will suit England a bit more up north in Ranchi because I don't think the ball will turn as much, because of the dew."
England's reply was gathering momentum at 58-1 off 10 overs when seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, playing only his fifth ODI, removed skipper Alastair Cook for 17.
Four overs later he removed Kevin Pietersen (42) and Eoin Morgan in the space of three balls to put the tourists firmly on the back foot and earn Botham's praise.
"Kumar is a good bowler - I like him; he keeps the ball up," he said. "He's not just a seam bowler - he swings it around a little bit. I think he might be a little skiddy as well. If you talk to the batsmen they might say he gets to you a little bit quicker than you might think. But his control is good.
"We first saw him in that series against Pakistan where he bowled very well and he's continued that today. His three wickets were big wickets - Cook, Pietersen and Morgan.
"That knocks the stuffing out of you and then you have to start again; the spinners come on and England didn't knock it around. It was slow and it was turning; they didn't want to go dancing down the wicket for fear of being stumped. It was just good cricket by India but poor from England, by the standards they've set themselves.
"You don't get to World No 1 in the rankings by playing poorly and today was as bad as I've seen them bat [for some time]. It was turning a bit but we're talking about orthodox finger-spin bowlers, not mystery balls."
Watch the third ODI between India and England, in Ranchi, live on Sky Sports 1 HD this Saturday from 6am.