Riding on a strong batting performance, India finally halted their sequence of defeats on the England tour on Thursday. It was their first victory after two tour games and four Tests.
Parthiv Patel (55), Virat Kohli (67) and Rohit Sharma (61 no) hit half-centuries to help the visitors beat Sussex County Cricket Club by six wickets in the one-day warm-up game. Patel was cheeky, Kohli was solid and Sharma was classy as the three made the 237-run target look like a cruise.
But there wasn't much to write home about in the bowling department except for another strong performance by the in-form Praveen Kumar. The lack of options in bowling remains a concern for coach Duncan Fletcher and captain M S Dhoni with RP Singh and Munaf Patel looking below their best.
RP bowled with better control than he did in the last Test, the number of overs he bowled at The Oval obviously reflecting in his performance. He walked away with a four-wicket haul but the sharpness was missing. The difference in standard will be huge in the one-dayers. Even Sussex hadn't put out their first eleven. The left-arm pacer started slowly but finished well. Former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent took him for a four and a mighty six over square-leg but got a bit impatient and was caught behind while going for an expansive drive. RP then claimed the wicket of opener and skipper Chris Nash and then added the wickets of tailenders Will Beer and Chris Leeder.
Patel's lacklustre showing has been shocking. He has been listless in all the three side games he has played on the tour. In the seven overs against Sussex, he conceded 52 runs for one wicket. His first ball was smashed for a straight boundary and then Joe Gatting hit him for a massive six over midwicket. Ben Brown, who scored 48, was on occasions walking down the track and playing him comfortably.
Sussex got their first 50 in 12 overs and the second fifty in seven overs. Their scoring slowed down with the advent of the spinners. Off-spinner R Ashwin was the most impressive bowler on display. He foxed Joe, nephew of former England skipper Mike Gatting, who played well for his 48, by checking his flight when the batsman shaped for a slog-sweep.
India started their chase in brilliant fashion with Sachin Tendulkar looking in fine touch. But he flattered to deceive and was out on 21 when Chris Liddle deceived him with change of pace. But Patel, Kohli and Sharma showed the difference in class between the two teams.
Sussex 236 in 45 ovs (M Machan 56, RP Singh 4/45); India 238/4 in 40.5 ovs (V Kohli 71, Nash 1/18)