January 21, 2002

England steal a famous win in the gloaming

By the time England toured this country in 1984-85, the one-day scenario was very different from that existing during their previous trip three years before.


The last hour saw the later order batsmen displaying lynx eyed batting and carrying England nearer the target. After Marks was out for 44, Richard Ellison joined Downton and the two continued in fading light to inch England closer to their objective in the face of a comparatively inexperienced attack ­ RS Ghai, Amarnath, Prabhakar, Shastri, Ashok Patel and Roger Binny.
India were World champions and it was the turn of the visitors to start as underdogs. But a nicely balanced England team defeated an over confident Indian side in the first of the scheduled five one-day internationals at Pune by four wickets with ten deliveries to spare. There were indications however that the contestants were more evenly balanced and they produced a humdinger of a match in the second game of the series at Cuttack.

India got off to a cracking start with openers Krish Srikkanth and Ravi Shastri putting on 188 runs ­ then the country's highest partnership for any wicket. Srikkanth was unlucky to be dismissed a run short of his century but Shastri got to the coveted mark before he was out for 102. On an easy paced pitch, the remaining batsmen failed to build adequately on this dream start. Srikkanth was out in the 37th over but in the remaining 12.2 overs, India could only add 64 runs. Too much time was wasted first by Shastri as he proceeded to his hundred. And none of the other batsmen ­ Dilip Vengsarkar, Mohinder Amarnath, Yashpal Sharma and Roger Binny ­ could force the pace leading to India being ultimately restricted to 252 for five in 49 overs.

England lost Tim Robinson early, bowled by Manoj Prabhakar for one. But the in form Mike Gatting kept them in the hunt with a stroke filled 59. Skipper David Gower chipped in with a valuable 21 while Allan Lamb got 28. England's hopes however faded when Lamb was run out in the 33rd over at 145. However Vic Marks and Paul Downton turned out to be unexpected heroes. Not only did they add 58 runs in nine overs but they also made them in light which could theoretically be called unplayable.

The last hour saw the later order batsmen displaying lynx eyed batting and carrying England nearer the target. After Marks was out for 44, Richard Ellison joined Downton and the two continued in fading light to inch England closer to their objective in the face of a comparatively inexperienced attack ­ RS Ghai, Amarnath, Prabhakar, Shastri, Ashok Patel and Roger Binny. Play was finally called off in the gloaming after 46 overs with the score 241 for six. But Downton (44) and Ellison (14), with their unbroken seventh wicket stand of 38 runs in four overs, had seen their side edge ahead by 0.08 of a run and England were declared winners on a faster scoring rate. Theirs was a really gallant effort that proved successful and they went two up in a series that they won by four matches to one.