Pietersen asks England to raise bar ahead of ODI series

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Mumbai, Nov 12 (UNI) Following a 124-run defeat at the hands of Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) XI, England captain Kevin Pietersen has urged his teammates to raise the standard of their game if they wish to pose any challenge to a formidable Indian team in the ODI series.

England will play a seven-match ODI series against India and the first match begins on November 14 at Rajkot.

The visitors collapsed for a paltry 98 against MCA XI yesterday which drew a lot of concerns within the team but Peitersen believes his team has learnt a few good lessons with the loss.

''The defeat has made us learn a few lessons. '' Pietersen told mediapersons here last evening.

''We are back to competitive cricket. We played our last competitive game before the Stanford week, round about the third or fourth of September.

''That was a long time ago. We had a good seven weeks off into that week. And now we are back into the real, real tough stuff to come here to India.

''We are learning to make sure that we get ourselves right and take our lessons to get our heads back on and get them really, really tuned into what's going to be a tough tour starting this evening,'' he added.

The concern for England was not the defeat alone but the injuries to two of its pacers as well. Stuart Broad withdrew from today's warm-up match with a sore knee and Ryan Sidebottom is yet to recover from an Achilles injury.

Their batsmen struggled against a second string MCA XI pace attack although credit must be given to medium-pacer Kshemal Waingankar, who took five wickets for 37.

England, chasing 223 for victory, lost their first six wickets for 38 with Pietersen falling for a duck.

All-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who scored a century in the first warm-up match against the same team, could garner just five runs.

''The wicket wasn't difficult (to chase). We didn't apply ourselves as we should have,'' said Pietersen.

''I think (there was) just a bit of indiscipline in some of the shots and some of that just crept in today.

''Nobody really remembers what happens in practice games, it's the internationals that count,'' he added.

''It's Friday counts for us now and we will be coming real, real hard on Friday. It's a big, big series for us, this,'' he stated.

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