Pietersen says England have improved

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/p/pietersen2_ap.jpg' class='caption'> Kevin Pietersen put on a brave face after the second straight loss to India, saying that even in defeat his team's performance was considerably better.

Updated: November 17, 2008 14:59 IST
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England skipper Kevin Pietersen on Monday put on a brave face after the second straight loss to India here, saying that even in defeat his team's performance was considerably better than the huge loss it suffered in the series-opener at Rajkot three days ago.

"We certainly played good cricket today and were in the game before losing it. We were totally out of the first game. I see it as an improvement," Pietersen said after his team slumped to a 54-run defeat here and are trailing India 0-2.

Pietersen also said that if his team can win the next couple of games by regrouping well they could still clinch the rubber.

"We just want to be competitive by winning the next couple of games. Then we can get close to the series," he said.

Pietersen agreed that his team had let India off the hook when the hosts were three wickets down for 29, but pointed out that Yuvraj Singh had once again batted supremely well to take the match away.

"We definitely failed to capitalise on it (29-3), but Yuvraj is a game breaker and it is difficult to get him out when he's playing like this. I would not have liked to change the line-up," he said when asked whether his team missed a couple of spinners.

In a jocular vein, Pietersen said he would take Yuvraj out to the hotel and make sure he does not reach Kanpur for the third ODI on November 20 when queried how his team intended to stop the marauding Punjab batsman.

Pietersen said that he had used the batting Power Play very well and at the right time to swing the match in his team's favour only for it to go awry later.

"The momentum had shifted away between the 15th and 30th overs and that's when we took it and the momentum came back. Our plan was that Freddie (Andrew Flintoff) would attack and I would try and play till the end. You need one big score on these wickets. But it did not happen," he rued.

Pietersen and Flintoff, who looked dangerous, were taken out by Yuvraj in his last over when England were 183 for three in the 38th over and the visiting team's innings went into a tail-spin thereafter and they lost their last seven wickets for 55 runs in less than 10 overs.

"Had Freddie and I stayed on we would have been competitive, but we gave away too many runs too," he said.

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