England prevail over India by 5 wkts
Tourists put up a clinical bat and ball display to register their 1st win in the ODI series in Jamshedpur. Scorecardindia Updated: Apr 12, 2006 17:48 IST
On Tuesday, Kevin Pietersen had warned somewhat nonchalantly that England was aiming for a comeback against the Asian giants.
Nobody believed him. Critics even hauled him up for shooting from the hip. But that was exactly what happened at the Keenan Stadium!
In a battle of young guns, where both the teams were devoid of experienced warhorses; England riding on a strong bowling performance and a thorough batting display, came out tops in Jamshedpur by 5 wickets.
Chasing a victory target of just 224 runs, Strauss and Bell took up the cudgels at the start and provided the middle order with a solid grounding to finish off the run chase with relative ease.
Man-of-the-match Strauss hit a stroke-filled 74 with 10 fours and along with makeshift opener (46 off 64 balls) put on dominating opening stand of 107 runs in just 119 balls, which sealed India's fate from the word go.
The hosts' pathetic target was never going to pose a threat as England hunted it down with 43 balls to spare.
Had Dhoni not hit a dazzling 106 ball 96 and along with Powar rescued India from a calamitous postion of 79/6, England's victory would have been swifter and more demeaning. Apart from Harbhajan and Powar none of the bowlers made an impact. Bhajji picked up three wickets and the latter chipped in with two.
Even though it is a consolation win and the ODI series still stands 4-1 in India's favour, England would take heart from the strong display. Flintoff and his men will sleep soundly today.
The final encounter of the seven match series will be played in Indore on Saturday.
Strauss, Bell dominate
Earlier, set 224 to win after a strong bowling performance, England needed just two overs to settle down before makeshift skipper Andrew Strauss and opener Ian Bell started charging.
Playing intelligently, the duo pierced the packed offside field with nonchalant ease and scored a flurry of boundaries at point and cover region.
The only remote chance India got was when RP Singh pulled off a blinder at deep-backward square leg, but only to find out that it was a no-ball.
Bell capitalised on his 'new-found' life and along with Strauss put on a fifty-run partnership at a cruising run rate nearing six per over.
Indian bowling attack lacking three of its frontline bowlers - Pathan, Agarkar and Sreesanth - was wayward and looked incompetent to dislodge the well-set duo.
The duo of Strauss and Bell put on an unbeaten 100-run stand in the 18th over with the former reaching his fifty at almost the same time.
Sehwag, frustrated at his lack of resources, switched on spinners at both the ends.
England openers who had made the pacers pay for awry line and length looked to compound misery on the duo of Harbhajan and Powar as well.
Spin duo gets India back
Harbhajan Singh who had started the series with a 5-wicket haul, lacked guile and was cut and pulled without any relative danger for his first two overs.
But he got India back in the game in his third over when he removed well-set Ian Bell from the crease for 46 runs.
Strauss who had already hit his fifty was joined by Solanki, but for a brief period. Powar castled him for 7 runs.
With England being rocked with two quick dismissals of Solanki and Bell, balance had started to tilt in India's favour.
England consolidates, then launch
However Kevin Pietersen along with Andrew Strauss, who was blazing at his end, stamped their presence on the proceedings and guided his team back into supremacy.
Even though Strauss, who was struggling from cramps, retired hurt at 75, India could not sneak in with another wicket. In-form batsman Paul Collingwood continued his skipper's good work and got his side even closer to the victory target.
England lost the wickets of Prior and Pietersen in quick succession to Indian spinners, but were firmly on the way towards registering their first win in the ODI series. Plunkett collapsed to Powar at the brink of victory.
But Blackwell launched into the spinner and signaled the England win with a huge six.
Despite a scintillating 107-run stand between MS Dhoni and Ramesh Powar that brought the Keenan Stadium to its full bloom, it was England who assumed supremacy as India was bowled out for 223 before the stipulated quota of 50 overs.
Jharkhand marauder MS Dhoni brought the hosts fighting back in to the match by smashing a dazzling 106-ball 96.
His innings replete with 10 hits to the fence and three over it caught the opponents off-guard after England had India reeling at a calamitous position of 79/6.
The wicketkeeper-batsman joined hands with Ramesh 'Powerful' Powar (54 runs) to pulverise the England bowling attack by using the long handle to good effect.
However, Dhoni's departure just four runs short of what could have been a superb ton and Powar's dismissal triggered a lower-order collapse which meant the hosts had to make do with a modest total.
Earlier, having won the toss and elected to bat at Keenan Stadium on Wednesday, India's makeshift skipper Virender Sehwag walked out with 'home-boy' MS Dhoni onto the field.
Though both are famous for their ability to wield the willow with ferocious power, one was woefully out of touch, while the other was blazing.
As expected, Sehwag's dismal endeavour at churning the run-mill in the series continued. He was dismissed for just 4 runs in the very first over from Anderson.
Dhoni launched into the attack to keep the tempo up despite Sehwag's dismissal. But Kaif followed Sehwag to the pavilion after being dismissed for just 15 runs.
After early shocks, there was still more to come!
India lost a flurry of wickets, with the middle order joining the procession, which the top order had started.
Yuvraj, who looked so good in all the games in the series, walked back for just 4 runs of 11 balls. Promising UP batsman Suresh Raina witnessing wickets falling at regular intervals, tried to consolidate, but for only 7 balls! He was caught down the leg side for just 2 runs.
Rao was next to go at a meagre 10. Virender Sehwag's third game as captain was proving miserable for the hosts as half of the side departed within the first twenty overs without making any significant contribution.
Negotiating the England pacers on a relatively seaming track was a big ask for the batters as one after the other committed the grave mistake of playing over ambitious shots early in the innings.
With India in real danger of getting bowled out under 200, the only ray of hope among the debacle - MS Dhoni - powered his shots past the England fielders but at the same time remained dogged at his end.
Oozing in confidence, his every shot smacked of a strong intent. The only thing he needed was someone who could stick to the other end. With no Pathan, Powar assumed the mantle of the all rounder.
His batting was a revelation and did his ODI chances a world of good by not only providing Dhoni with a steady support, but also trying to match his scoring rate during brief periods. In fact the first six of the innings was hit by the bulky all-rounder.
But after the fireworks from Dhoni and Powar's blade stopped, England assumed supremacy again as Indian team lost its lower order quickly.
India: V Sehwag (captain), M Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, SK Raina, MS Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Y Venugopal Rao, R Powar, Harbhajan Singh, RP Singh, MM Patel, VRV Singh
England: A Strauss (captain), M Prior (wicketkeeper), K Pietersen, P Collingwood, V Solanki, I Bell, I Blackwell, L Plunkett, M Hoggard, J Anderson, S Mahmood
First Published: Apr 12, 2006 08:34 IST