Third ODI: Yuvraj crowned King in Goa
Pathan took four wickets as India beat England by 49 runs to take a 3-0 lead in the seven-match series. Scorecardindia Updated: Apr 04, 2006 12:43 IST
For its exotic beauty, Goa has always been a temptress, embracing millions by the sea.
But on Monday, it had a rival in Yuvraj Singh. For the numbers, Yuvraj scored 103 off 77 balls with 10 fours and 3 sixes, scripting a 49-run win for India in the third ODI over England, giving the team a 3-0 lead in the seven-match series.
But the numbers could never paint the joy he gave the crowd. Wielding his willow like a magician would his wand, Yuvraj inspired them to indulge themselves in the Maxican Wave and England, despite a fighting 93 from Paul Collingwood, were swapt away.
Yuvraj, the man-of-the-match, needs to thank Suresh Raina (61 in 68 balls, five fours, 1 six) for letting him express himself. The young Raina played another knock that would make a veteran proud to claim it as his own.
England were eventually all out for 245 in 48.5 overs, 49 short of India's 294/6.
Irfan Pathan was crafty with the ball, getting four wickets. But the 105-run partnership for the seventh wicket between Collingwood (93 in 10 fours, 1 six) and Geraint Jones (32 in 42 balls 1 six) saved England from suffering an embarrassing defeat.
From 100/6, England eventually managed to score 245, though for a lost cause.
The teams now move to Kochi for the fourth match on April 6.
Though a victory was looking impossible, but Collingwood was not the one throw in the towel.
He started playing some astounding strokes and even Munaf Patel was not spared. Making room for himself, he would repeatedly hit him over the in-field.
Though it was still an improbable task, but you could see the tension in Rahul Dravid's face as Jones too played a few rasping shots.
Dravid brought back Pathan and the move paid off. The ball came slower for Jones to get the timing right and Virender Sehwag took a good catch at mid-wicket.
The partnership was finally broken.
After losing his partner, Collingwood finally ran out of steam, falling seven short of what could have been valiant hundred. His mis-timed shot was caught by Raina at mid on.
High asking rate:
With the asking rate going as high as nine runs per over, even a Brazilian would have predicted who was going to win this cricket match!
But Collingwood was carrying on, picking up the singles, and using his feet to the spinners, hammering them whenever he got the width.
He was making a point. That this wicket was not unplayable, after all. Though scoring is not easy, runs come to you when you get your eyes in.
What must have been in his mind was playing through the 50 overs.
The going became tougher than ever when the two offies bowled in tandem.
Harbhajan Singh's variations and Ramesh Powar's sharp turn were proving too much. And eventually Vikram Solanki (10) fell.
Trying to force Harbhajan to leg-side, he played straight into the hands of Yuvraj at short mid-wicket.
Brilliant captaincy by Dravid. Knowing the batsman's penchant to score on the leg-side, he tempted him to play Harbhajan with the spin.
England lost their sixth wicket at 100.
Collingwood was defiant, but the more he was batting, the more it was looking apparent that here was a man fighting a losing battle!
Fall of Freddie and Prior:
After losing wickets in quick succession, the need for any team is partnerships. Andrew Flintoff knew that he had a big task at hand.
Ever since he came in, he was looking assured of himself on a pitch with a strange behaviour. Working the ball in the gaps, he was willing to wait for Ajit Agarkar to bowl the bad balls.
He never missed an opportunity to score and Matthew Prior played and missed few times. But he was hanging in there, also getting the runs by using his feet to Harbhajan.
This was turning out to be a good partnership until the misunderstanding between the two saw Prior (37 in 54 balls, 3 fours) failing to beat Munaf's throw from point.
The 31-run partnership which was threatening to become big was broken. Collingwood joined Flintoff as the asking rate went above 7.7.
Dravid brought in Powar. Flintoff (15 in 30 balls, 2 fours) wanted to take chance, bending on his knees, he hit with the spin, but failed to beat Virender Sehwag at mid-wicket.
India got the biggest wicket. England would need a miracle to win from there.
When England began the chase, Pathan brought the cheers from his mates and crowds.
Abdrew Strauss (7) played away from the body in Pathan's second over to be caught behind.
Prior was batting well. But the asking rate was always high. Flintoff sent Ian Blackwell to do the pinch-hitter's job only for the left-hander to run into Pathan who bowled him.
India got the start they wanted while defending their target. With Pathan was Munaf, the debutant, who was bowling on the corridor of uncertainty.
Owais Shah joined Prior in the middle. But he was to follow soon and to the same bowler. Playing on the up, he gave a catch to Yuvraj at point. It was Pathan's third wicket and Indians were on a roll.
England's third wicket fell at 47 and in the 11th over.
At one stage, it seemed India would do well to get a score around 235. Thanks to the partnership between Yuvraj and Suresh, India could score 294/6 in the stipulated 50 overs.
Yuvraj hit his seventh one-day hundred. It was probably his very best. Before falling to Flintoff, Yuvraj's brilliant batting ensured that England would have a difficult target to chase on a wicket not easy to bat.
Yuvraj's partnership with Raina was crucial as at one stage India were struggling at 131/4. Raina batted superbly for his second half century in one-day cricket. He was finally dismissed by Flintoff in the final over. But by then the damage was already done.
Save your wickets, and then go for the kill. After 40 overs had been bowled, Yuvraj and Raina changed gear. It was one-day batting of 1980s style.
Dancing down the wicket, Yuvraj hit Ian Blackwell over mid-wicket and into the crowd. Raina too opened up, lofting Flintoff.
Yuvraj was mesmerizing. He had so much time to play his strokes that it seemed as if Sajid Mahmood was reduced to Chris Harris' pace! 21 runs were hit in one over. Cutting, driving, lofting, Yuvraj tore him apart. As many as 98 runs were scored in the last 10 overs.
Even after losing Mohammad Kaif and Pathan in quick succession, Yuvraj carried on.
He had Raina for company. Fresh from his Faridabad heroics, Raina was flowing with cuts and drives. Once he stepped out to Blackwell only to miss the line. Fortunately for India, the ball low enough for Jones to complete the stumping.
Both the batsmen were playing sensible cricket at a time when Flintoff was relying on his teachers.
The moment Yuvraj came in, it seemed the pitch changed its colour to embrace this charming Chandigarh boy.
When his mates had to think about hitting the good balls, he made the art called hitting on the rise look like a walk in the park. Boundaries were flowing for him.
Things were looking good until Pathan (36 in 63 balls, 3 fours, 1 six) felt the urge to match Yuvraj, giving a catch to the man at point off Flintoff.
Mohammad Kaif (0) came in only to go back in no time, edging one off Liam Plunkett to wicketkeeper Jones. India lost another wicket as they were struggling at 131/4 in 27.3 overs.
On a slow pitch, Dravid was batting at a beautiful pace. But unfortunately for India, his first lapse was his last as he tried to cut Collingwood, only for the ball to roll back to hit the stumps.
Dravid's 46 (59 balls, 6 fours) put India in a good position even after losing Sehwag in the seventh over.
But with his wicket, England got the chance they needed to make more inroads into India's line-up.
Yuvraj joined Pathan who was mixing caution with aggression, hitting Blackwell for straight six in between taking those invaluable ones and twos
The conditions were hot and humid, something that Englishmen always scream about.
But after the pace bowlers failed to create a single chance to appeal, Flintoff turned to the left-arm-spin of Blackwell and the military medium of Collingwood.
The two bowled pretty well, but Dravid and Pathan were getting used to slowness of the pitch, making the necessary adjustments in their strokes, taking their partnership past the 50-run mark.
Stroke-making was not exactly easy on this pitch. For someone who takes delight in dispatching the ball to the boundary, Pathan was willing to place the ball in the gaps.
Flintoff brought himself in and soon the Indian batsmen found out that the England captain was in full flow, hardly giving them the width to free their arms.
Dravid was using his soft hands to steal those cheeky singles. When once, Flintoff pitched one on the slot, Pathan drove, beating the crowded off side field for four very fine runs.
Sehwag was looking good. But just when he looked set for a big one, he committed the perennial crime of leaving gap between bat and pad.
James Anderson's good length ball whistled past Sehwag's swinging bat and pad which was tied to the crease, removing the bails and giving England the breakthrough they needed.
Another chance has gone for Sehwag to hit form. Pathan was promoted in the batting order to join Dravid in the middle.
Knowing that his team desperately needs to score, Dravid didn't leave the responsibility to someone else and decided to open with Sehwag.
That was after Gautam Gambhir was finally shown the door because of consistently failing to covert the starts.
Both the captain and the vice-captain, who was badly in need of runs, started on a cautious note. Sajid Mahmood's first over, bowled to Sehwag, was a maiden.
Dravid also opened up only in the third over when he leaned onto his cover drive for four beautiful runs. Sehwag too then played a one-handed cut over the in-field.
It wasn't a flying start, but a good one nevertheless.
India win toss:
Dravid won the toss and elected to bat on Monday.
Munaf Patel and Ajit Agarkar have replaced Gautam Gambhir and S Sreesanth in the team. Kevin Pietersen could not play because of injury and Vikram Solanki took his place.
India: V Sehwag, R Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, M Kaif, SK Raina, MS Dhoni, IK Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, RR Powar, AB Agarkar, MM Patel.
England: A Strauss, MJ Prior, VS Solanki, OA Shah, PD Collingwood, A Flintoff, GO Jones, ID Blackwell, LE Plunkett, JM Anderson, S Mahmood.
First Published: Apr 03, 2006 08:44 IST