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India keen to rebound with vengeance

Having been outclassed by a young English side in the first ODI, India will be keen to raise their level of play in the second game.

cricket Updated: Aug 23, 2007 17:17 IST

Having been outclassed in all departments of the game by a young and enthusiastic England in the first cricket one-dayer, India would be keen to raise their level of play and bounce back with a vengeance in the second day-night game at Bristol on Friday.

The experienced Indians, having beaten England in the Test series, was caught on the wrong foot by a young home team whose energy and enterprise saw them dictate terms to Rahul Dravid and company in batting, bowling and fielding.

"We didn't come to the party at all. We were outbatted, outbowled and outfielded and we've got to play a lot better if we want to stay in the series," said captain Dravid after a forgettable game at Rose Bowl.

The visitors have to do a lot of soul searching as regards their bowling. After their remarkable success in the three Tests, the bowlers have suddenly gone off the boil.

The signs were evident when the England Lions smashed 296 in the warm up game before England made their plight look worse as they cruised to 288 for 2.

Both Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, who cracked maiden hundreds, milked the Indian bowling around the park and had the Indians in complete disarray as they pierced the field regularly and ran brilliantly between wickets.

The batsmen went after leg spinner Piyush Chawla, besides targeting part-timers Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh.

"It was one of our best performances for some time," said hosts' skipper Paul Collingwood."

"The way the batters went about it, positive right through. I think we've had such phases in the past but we're looking for consistency", Collingwood said.

"It was a kind of a perfect game. It's a great start for us but we need to continue with that rhythm and momentum."

While the Indians have to sort out whom to bowl in the middle overs, they also have to make sure they back their bowlers with some tidy work in the field.

With quite a few old guards around, you don't expect livewires in the field. Yet, the overall fielding standards left a lot to be desired and the Indians have to be on their toes to compliment their bowlers.

"Fielding isn't our strong area and we're not going to develop strong arms and athletic legs overnight. But what we must do not make stupid mistakes while running between the wickets. That's something we can definitely avoid," said Dravid.

On the other hand, the bowlers will have to think hard on the length they need to bowl. While Zaheer Khan and Rudra Pratap Singh were steady, Ajit Agarkar has looked way below his best.

The Indians might fancy playing Ramesh Powar ahead of Chawla but more than changing the personnel what is really needed is a change of heart and attitude. The Indians need to show more passion and aggression.

England had plenty of it in the way Andrew Flintoff went about his business. Coming back after a three-month lay off from injury, lintoff showed why he is capable of making such a huge impact with a hostile spell of bowling that made the Indians hop and dance.

And with James Anderson keeping up the good job he has done all summer, finishing with his career-best figures (4/23), a strong and experienced Indian line up was cleaned up quickly.

Then again, the Indians just have too much class and experience not to bounce back after a bad day in the office.

Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid are all proven performers while Yuvraj Singh gets his big chance after sitting out in the Test series.

Yuvraj has shown in the series against South Africa that he will be a batsman to watch out for. After failing in the first game, he will have plenty of opportunities to prove his mettle.