India fall short in high scoring thriller
India fell 9 runs short of England’s total of 325/4 in the first ODI at Rajkot on Friday.
England won the toss and chose to bat first at Rajkot’s new international venue. The other international ground in the city already has a reputation has a flat track and the new ground proved to be no different, the England openers racking up a 158 run partnership for the first wicket in just 27.4 overs.
Ian Bell had made consecutive tons in England’s warm up ODIs against India A and his run continued here, making 85 off 96b before he was run out to give India their first breakthrough. Cook followed soon after for 75 but Kevin Pietersen (44) and Eoin Morgan (41) added another brisk 76 run partnership for the third wicket.
India’s bowlers were severely unimpressive but Ashok Dinda managed to dismiss Pietersen and Morgan amidst the punishment, leading to a brief lull in the scoring. Samit Patel (44* off 20b, 6x4, 1x6) and Craig Kieswetter (24* off 20b, 1x4, 2x6) however made up for it by pillaging Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma to take 64 off the last 5 overs. 38 of those came in the last two overs, pushing England to a competitive 325/4.
Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane gave India their best opening partnership in 21 matches since December 2011, adding 95 for the first wicket. Their dismissals were soft though, a result of taking the threat of James Tredwell too lightly. Virat Kohli could never get going and was caught behind off Bresnan soon.
His dismissal brought urgency to Yuvraj Singh’s batting and he always has something special to offer when playing against England.
Yuvraj (61, 54b, 8x4, 1x6) had also not bowled earlier in the day despite having finished as highest wicket-taker against England in the two T20Is. He let loose, bringing up his 50 off just 38b before a lazy paddle off Tredwell saw him being caught at short fine leg. He and Suresh Raina had added 60 in just 9 overs for the fourth wicket by then. Raina (50, 49b, 7x4) played aggressor in his stand with MS Dhoni for the fifth wicket while the latter took his time to settle in. Raina got a life just before he reached his fifty when Bresnan seemed to have grassed a sharp chance at third man. He could not capitalize it though and had the tamest of dismissals when he offered a simple return catch to Tredwell, beaten by the bounce.
His exit saw Dhoni (32, 25b, 4x6) crank up the tempo with sixes off Patel and Bresnan but he too could not hang around too long. Jade Dernbach struck twice in the 45th over, having Dhoni hole out off a slower ball and Jadeja (7) edging a short delivery on to his stumps. Ravichandran Ashwin (20), Ashok Dinda (3), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (13*) and Ishant Sharma (7) chipped in to take India closer to the total but with 18 needed off the last over, the tail could only muster 8 runs, giving England their first ODI win against India in India since March 2006 when they won an ODI in Jamshedpur.
India and England will play the second ODI in Kochi on January 15th.