Battle within the neighbourhood
Emboldened by their performance against India on Sunday, England will take the field with renewed confidence when they meet Ireland here on Wednesday.
Equalling 338 under lights in front of a houseful of die-hards cheering for India was no mean achievement, especially after the 1-6 ODI series drubbing against Australia before the World Cup, and England must think they are getting it right.
After the successful chase of 293 against the Netherlands in Nagpur, England have shown signs that they have the wherewithal to succeed in the sub-continent, especially in batting. Captain Andrew Strauss stood out on both occasions and he rated Sunday’s 158 as the best ODI innings of his career.
Another crucial factor in restricting India to 338 was the way they bowled at the end, taking seven wickets in the last five overs to bowl India out, something which looked unlikely at one point.
“There’s not a lot of margin for error on these wickets,” said Tim Bresnan, who took four of those late wickets. “It’s not swinging a great deal up the top and it’s not really moving off the seam, so it’s quite difficult to take wickets without using variation. You’ve just got to mix it up as much as you can.”
Mix it up, Bresnan & Co did against India but the eventual outcome of the match notwithstanding, it was late and after too many runs had been conceded. So this is something they will have to keep in mind despite the good job done by their batsmen. “You can’t really get away with anything wide of off stump.
Even on off stump is still wide to some. Different players have their different areas and it’s quite difficult to keep it in an area where they can’t score. Especially up top and in the power plays, when India took it the other night with the new ball, it skidded on nicely,” said Bresnan. Wedenesday gives him and his co-bowlers to get it right before the bigger battles.