Chawla's progress excites Dravid
Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla took three key wickets in India's nine-run win against England in the second ODI.Updated: Aug 25, 2007 16:32 IST
Teenage leg-spinner Piyush Chawla received a glowing endorsement from captain Rahul Dravid after taking three key wickets in India's nine-run win against England in the second one-day international at Bristol at Nevil Road.
India piled up 329 for seven, their record score at this level against England, with Sachin Tendulkar making 99 and man-of-the-match Dravid, who won the toss, a blistering 92 not out.
But England were up with the run-rate only for Chawla to check their progress with three for 60, including the top-order wickets of Kevin Pietersen, home captain Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell.
Ultimately, England fell short and finished on 320 for eight as India levelled the seven-match series at 1-1 ahead of Monday's third match at Edgbaston.
Considering the boundaries were short and the outfield fast, it was a performance that said much about Chawla's character.
"He's a young kid, he's only 18-years-old. He has a long way to go. But there are great signs," Dravid told reporters after stumps on Friday.
"He's played all his (one-day) cricket outside of India in conditions that don't really suit his sort of spin bowling. He's got a great attitude, terrific for an 18-year-old. He always wants to bowl. He's looking to bowl to good batsmen and looking to set aggressive fields.
"He's not scared, even if he gets hit. He played a Test match against England in Mohali (in 2006) and if you look at the way he's bowling now and the way he was bowling then, there has been an improvement."
India, as well as playing Chawla, also recalled off-spinner Ramesh Powar, who took one for 43.
"We took a bit of a gamble there, we knew it was a small boundary but I guess one of the areas we suffered from at the Rose Bowl (where England won by 104 runs on Tuesday) was that we just didn't take wickets in the middle overs," Dravid said.
"Our spinners bowled really well considering the boundaries. They got the crucial wickets and we needed all of them to even defend a score like 329 on this ground."
Dravid also paid tribute to Tendulkar, whose 99 came off 112 balls with one six and 15 fours after he'd been suffering with fever on the eve of the match. Together with Sourav Ganguly, Tendulkar put on 113 for the first wicket.
"Sachin and Sourav got us off to a great start and set the tempo."
But Dravid's innings was an extraordinary effort, considering he didn't come in until the 32nd over.
His typically elegant effort featured a series of sublime cover-drives and legside deflections. He faced just 63 balls, cutting James Anderson for six, and scoring 11 fours.
"It came off for me today (Friday), I had a bit of luck," a modest Dravid said. "I was timing the ball well."
England, by contrast to India, dropped lone specialist spinner Monty Panesar and replaced him with fast bowler Chris Tremlett, whose nine overs cost 73 runs, in an all-seam attack.
"We are going to have a look at it," said Collingwood. "When you're bowling against an Indian batting line-up like that they can make any bowler look average. It was a small ground and the seamers had done so well at the Rose Bowl, we decided to go in with that kind of balance."
Tendulkar, unlucky to be given out caught behind down the legside, was one of all-rounder Andrew Flintoff's wickets in a career-best haul of five for 65.
Flintoff injured his right knee, in only his second England appearance this season after renewed ankle trouble, but did bowl at the end of the innings.
"He is pretty much okay," Collingwood said. "He is pretty happy with his five-for and raring to go for the next match. He knows what he is doing with the ball, he nails his yorkers, he is aggressive and hopefully the other seamers learn from what he does."
Collingwood, reflecting on England's gallant pursuit, added: "We needed someone to go on and get a 100 or a 120. But I was pleased with the way the boys went about their chase. It proves we can knock big totals off and that was just out of our reach today (Friday)."
First Published: Aug 25, 2007 12:13 IST