Dharamsala: Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday said had India batted "more sensibly", the hosts could have won the fifth and final ODI here and wrapped up the series by a bigger margin.
Sent into bat, India were all out for 226 and Dhoni said the home team were 30-35 runs short of the target that they would have liked to set before England at the picturesque HPCA Stadium which made its ODI debut.
"The ODI series was as tight as the Test series. We should have won this game, maybe we should have batted more sensibly. We were 30-35 runs short," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.
"But it is a young side and it will learn with time."
Although he lauded the bowlers' performance in this series, Dhoni said death bowling still continues to haunt India.
"Thankfully, in three games, we didn't bowl well in the death overs, it remains an area of concern. Today bowlers got some help, maybe they were a little short today. The bowlers did well this series because the conditions really helped them too. Ishant was a big positive, he bowled really well throughout the series, if you look spell by spell," he said.
"Fielding is a big positive. (Ravindra) Jadeja's form solves the allrounder problem to an extent too," he added.
"Gambhir has been going through a lean patch but he is an experienced player. I believe he has batted a bit better in the last few games. Unlike some of the earlier matches, he didn't look tentative and was a lot more decisive about stroke-making," Dhoni said.
"I believe he is improving and don't forget he is an amazing player of spin bowling. Ideally, we want him to bat till the 35th-40th over," said Dhoni defending the Delhi left-hander, who has now scored only 156 runs in his last eight ODIs.
Similarly when asked about a sudden slump in off-spinner Ashwin's form, Dhoni reasoned, "May be he was using variations a bit too much but he has now realised his mistake. In the last couple of matches, he has been more consistent about length. He has not used too many variations and was trying to bowl to one line. But then you also need a perfect mix as variation has been Ashwin's strength. The new ODI rules, with five fielders inside the circle, has also made it slightly difficult."
He was all praise for pacer Ishant Sharma, who has been pretty impressive in this series.
"Ishant bowled really well and in right areas. One needs to understand that he is playing ODI after a long time."
The skipper is also impressed with the effort of young new ball bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed, but is certainly in no mood not to throw the youngsters into Test cricket right now.
"Shorter format will give them (Bhuvneshwar and Shami) more exposure. Test cricket is entirely different and if you look at someone like Bhuvneshwar, he can be effective in specific conditions. To play him in Tests, you need to have a look at the conditions. Like if we are playing in England, New Zealand or South Africa where the ball swings and seams, he can be considered but on sub-continental tracks he would need to alter the length which he bowls," Dhoni explained.
Visiting skipper Alastair Cook said England has many positives to take from this tour despite losing the ODI series 2-3. England notched up a comprehensive victory by seven wickets and Cook attributed the win in the fifth and final ODI to team effort.
"It was a good win, it was a good toss to win, but our bowlers bowled really well. (Tim) Bresnan and (Steven) Finn got early breakthroughs today. Our top four got runs and (Ian) Bell played a fantastic knock. The pitch was doing something all day, so it was important to stick around with wickets in hands, it is important with the new regulations. We have good positives to take from this series. It has been a fantastic three months in India," Cook said.
Bell, who was declared man-of-the-match for his unbeaten 113-run knock, credited the English bowlers for setting up the win.
"Our bowlers set up the win but 220 odd was a good target to chase. I really love opening the batting and hopefully I can continue to do this in future," he said.
Man-of-the-series Suresh Raina, who scored a fantastic 83, also agreed with his skipper and said that India were a few runs short in this match.
"When we came to this series, we had lost to Pakistan in ODIs and England in Tests, so this win has been good. Today we were probably 20-30 runs short, but still we batted well in this series," said Raina, who is the highest scorer in the ODI series with 277 runs at an average of 92.33. When you bat 6, 7 you don't get many opportunities, but this series, our top order didn't get runs, so I got time in the middle," he said.