Every team is a lion in its own den. A depleted Indian team proved this adage when they beat England in the first ODI at Hyderabad, on Friday, October 14, by the massive margin of 126 runs.
India’s best hope was to bat first on a track that got slower and lower as the match progressed, and Dhoni did just that, after winning a crucial toss. The hosts did not have the best of starts, losing Parthiv Patel to a needless run out, with just 17 runs on the board.
Young opener, who had an impressive tour of England, steadied the ship in Gambhir’s company, but perished with the introduction of spin, in the form of Graeme Swann, into the attack, stumped by Kieswetter, to leave India at 52/2. Gambhir’s departure, 17 runs later, LBW to Dernbach, had India on the back-foot, and Kohli, in the company of Raina, went about getting the innings back on track, when against the run of play, the number four batsman perished, caught by Pietersen off Samit Patel, for 34.
At 123/4, Raina and Dhoni, who joined him, might have been haunted by the ghosts of the hapless England tour. But neither player showed any evidence of such doubts. Thereafter, Raina went on the offensive and got the run rate past 5 per over, and when he departed at 195/5 in the 39th over, he had set up a platform for a 250-plus score that had looked unlikely earlier.
Dhoni shepherded the innings to 300/7 with a typically belligerent 87 off 70 balls, aided by Jadeja who celebrated his return to the national squad with a feisty 27 off 22 balls before he got run out, at 260/6 after 46 overs.
Chasing 301 to win, England needed a good start, and when Praveen Kumar had the in-form Kieswetter edging one to Dhoni, at 7/1, the visitors were already on the back foot in third over. But Cook was joined by Pietersen and at 40/1, in the 10th over, with both batsmen appearing to have settled down, disaster struck when the number three batsman was run out by Ashwin. A brief renaissance, in which the score was pushed up to 111/2 by the duo of Cook and Trott, was just not enough and after Cook’s dismissal on 60 off 63 balls, the innings fell apart, and the slower bowlers, led by Jadeja and Ashwin, reigned.
Jadeja (3/34), Ashwin (3/35) and Yadav (2/32) exploited the English batsmen’s vulnerability against spin, to bundle the visitors out for 174, in the 37th over. A 1-0 lead at the start of the series augurs well for a young Indian team and the margin of their victory points to even greater things to come.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.