Captain Andrew Flintoff admitted England would be "playing for pride" in the remaining one-day games in India following a fourth successive defeat.
Flintoff departs after being caught at mid-wicket for 12
They once again failed to score enough runs to seriously test the home side as they lost by four wickets in Cochin.
According to Flintoff, "275 would have been a par score" at the Nehru Stadium but they could only muster 237 all out.
"You've got to score big totals against India with the strength in their batting line-up," he said.
"We are 4-0 down, there's three games to play and we've got to take something from them.
"We've got to try and compete with India and win a couple of games, if not all three."
Flintoff had to go off for a brief spell as the match neared its climax when he suffered an attack of cramp after making a sprawling stop in the field.
But following the game, he was quick to play down any concerns about his fitness with England already short of several senior players.
"It was a tad embarrasing. I went down for it and just seized up a little bit, but it's alright now," the Lancashire all-rounder commented.
Geraint Jones was another casualty in the stifling heat and humidity, suffering a thigh strain which meant Matt Prior having to don the wicket-keeping gloves for India's reply.
But Flintoff refused to use the weather as an excuse for the result.
"I've played a couple of games in Sri Lanka when it's been just as hot and on similar sorts of pitches.
"Second half (of the game), I thought we stuck at it well. We just didn't score enough runs," said Flintoff.
Kevin Pietersen top scored for England with 77
England's hopes of achieving the big total they were seeking faded when both Kevin Pietersen and Flintoff fell in quick succession during a power play called by home skipper Rahul Dravid.
"It did cost us a little bit. Sometimes the spinners are bowling in a power play and you tend to try and play a few more shots. It didn't come off," Flintoff added.
Pietersen made 77, his second half century of the series, after being pushed one place up the order to number three.
Asked about his feelings regarding the switch, he told BBC Sport: "I don't mind at all. You've got to bat some time. I thought I batted nicely today.
"I want to try and get myself a hundred on this trip and it is disappointing to get out in the 70s again."
Pietersen echoed Flintoff's comments about the need for the team to avoid going through the motions in the three matches left on the tour.
"This is a series we should have got ourselves into contention to win. We should have done a better job in the first two games.
"Now it's just a case of going into these next three games and all the guys involved have got to try and get something positive out of it," he added.