England v India, 2nd ODI, Rose Bowl September 6, 2011

England on full beam while India fade

England are continually willing to push themselves to their limit, as they showed with a huge chase that felt routine
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A day that contained some of the most dank and miserable weather of the summer gave way to a glorious sunset that dipped over the Rose Bowl pavilion just as an improbable 23-over-a-side contest got underway out in the middle. By the time the floodlights had kicked into full life, England were also on full beam, and kicking on to another remarkable victory - their sixth out of six in completed fixtures against an Indian team that is somehow locating a new nadir with each new dawn.

England's latest victory was remarkable in the sense that it ought to have been unexpected - given the size of India's total and the cobbled-together nature of England's batting line-up - but it ended up feeling entirely routine. Alastair Cook's adaptation to one-day cricket has, in its own way, seemed more improbable than his feats of endurance in the Test format, and as he glided to a 63-ball 80 not out (to take his summer's ODI tally to 382 runs at 76.40 from 381 balls) India's resolve broke as dramatically as the clouds that had delayed the day's start until 7pm.

Cook, by his own admission, came close to standing down for this contest. Instead it was the insular Jonathan Trott who stepped out of the starting XI to make way for the pugnacious Samit Patel - a recognition of the fact that, in a 23-over sprint, there was no place for a pacemaker. With Kevin Pietersen taking a break and Eoin Morgan laid low with a shoulder problem, England's batting line-up seemed to have a worrying lack of oomph, and yet you would not believe it from the speed with which they hurtled after India's testing total of 187 for 8.

India seemed to have done everything right with the bat. Parthiv Patel was brisk and abrupt in a 16-ball 28, Ajinkya Rahane unfurled a crisp technique for the third match in a row to anchor their performance with 54 from 47 balls, while Suresh Raina's transmogrification from the Test series continued with another howitzer of an innings - 40 from 19 balls, including three fours and three sixes. At the precise moment he flogged his third maximum over point off Tim Bresnan, he took his ODI runs tally to 74 from 43 balls. In the Oval Test last month, he floundered to a 42-ball pair.

None of that was enough to halt England, however. In part, they owed their momentum to a superb retort from Craig Kieswetter, a batsman whose ability to clear the ropes in the Powerplay overs propelled him straight into the World Twenty20 line-up in the Caribbean last May, but whose stiff-armed response to tidy swing bowling has tended to lay him low in English conditions. Here he produced a throwback performance, not least when he opened his shoulders in Vinay Kumar's opening over, to batter a length ball over midwicket for six.

However, that India failed to trouble Kieswetter, or Cook for that matter, was an indictment of their inadequacies as a bowling unit. England's attack also struggled on a pitch that Cook later admitted was much better for batting than eight hours of sweating under the covers would have suggested. However they did at least have James Anderson's waspishness with the new ball to fall back on, as well as Graeme Swann's purchase in the middle overs, as he applied a handbrake to the run-rate with three wickets for 33 in five excellent overs.

India had no-one who could match such diligence. Praveen Kumar had an off-day, as his first two overs were filleted for 23, but the lack of back-up went way beyond the absence of an outright fifth bowler that MS Dhoni bemoaned at the close. R Ashwin's opening over was defensive leg-side dross that demanded - and received - an attacking response from Kieswetter, and it wasn't until Bell drove loosely to short cover in the 11th over that England's run-rate dipped below ten an over.

England had their alarms with the bat - mostly when an anxious Ravi Bopara came to the crease, desperate to prove himself but merely muddying his own case with each new muffed decision. He twice came close to running himself out early in his stay, and while a 20-ball 24 served his team's purpose in the end, he exuded a lack of confidence reminiscent of Owais Shah in the dying days of his own ODI career.

There's still time for Bopara to get it right, and there's no better place to learn than in a winning outfit, but his stuttering performance was proof that India could have turned the screw, if they'd had anything resembling an attack with which to do so. Their glut of injuries is an excuse that washes only so far, given that England are also feeling the wear and tear of a long season. But as Bell demonstrated in a superlative evening's work on the long boundary, where he pocketed three catches - one of them outstanding - and saved a certain four with a full-length dive on the edge of the rope, there's one team that's willing to push itself to the limit.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Naresh28 on September 8, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    INDIAN FANS should not be disppointed too much of the future. In emerging tournaments played in Australia recently. India finished tops in both tournaments. Some stats from those tournaments showed we had the second most no of centurions ,Most wickets from our bowlers(50), most sixes. In that tournament - Rahane, Tiwari, Pandey,Menaria shone in the batting. Varun, Vinay, Iqbal, Unadkat shone in the bowling. The tournament had SA, Australia, NZ, India playing. We appeared to be 2nd to SA in the bowling department and had more team members contributing in the batting than the other teams. Again two SA batsman were tops

  • dummy4fb on September 8, 2011, 7:08 GMT

    Its high time for Dhoni to stop giving lame excuses and instead get things in order by employing tough training in each department especially in bowling and batting. Now the English series shows to the world we are totally lacking in professionalism and we are bunch of village cricketers.Hope so called the power house BCCI will take notice and start do things in right way.

  • RandyOZ on September 8, 2011, 3:02 GMT

    We've only had 7 non-Australian born players in our test cricket history. You have that in your current squad. I am not against it, but if it was me i'd be mighty embarassed. When English becomes the second language in the dressing room surely you have a problem!

  • RandyOZ on September 7, 2011, 23:18 GMT

    @landl47, not biased? HAHA your having a laugh mate. I cannot take you seriously if you actually believe that. If you think I am the biased one I suggest you look up the definition of bias, you'll see one of Miller's articles as an example!

  • 5wombats on September 7, 2011, 22:43 GMT

    @landl47... I think you got him! @CricIndia208; Trolling Rubbish. Anyway what you have put is wrong - surely you should have said; "INDIA are home track bullies who can win only on doctored pitches. INDIA should try winning a few games overseas before opening its mouth". Yep - that looks about right to me. Don't worry England devotees - we won't have to read this Trash for much longer.

  • zico123 on September 7, 2011, 21:15 GMT

    ofcourse Praveen, Munaf, Vinay trio is one-dimensional attack, it took us 3 games to understand that !! Dhoni keeps saying our bowlers are not genuine quicks, then why he don't play Aaron Varun?? he must play in the remaining 3 games, you never know he might be the bowler India was looking for

  • RohanMarkJay on September 7, 2011, 20:50 GMT

    Congratulations to England, becoming a good one day side too. As a England Cricket team fan its pleasing to see England team do well. I know it won't last, as the other cricket teams will be looking to knock off England. However England fans should enjoy it while it lasts because we all remember how cricket was for England team in the 1990s. More losses than wins.

  • Lmaotsetung on September 7, 2011, 20:27 GMT

    RandyOZ is just a bitter old man who finally realizes that his Australian team won't be winning the Ashes for a looooong time.

  • dummy4fb on September 7, 2011, 20:09 GMT

    what's ironic is that everything is about money--maybe not in England now but wait till the economy gets worse. Indians will play in the IPL and still get the moolah. India stops touring any other country and will still earn the bucks home. wait till the World cup in England. No Indian viewer-ship ends up like a shab show in the West Indies. Ask the Pakistanis.. they will ine up to play in the IPL once they are allowed.and who are the best one day players in England KP and morgan--both play in the IPL..

  • dummy4fb on September 7, 2011, 18:43 GMT

    Alright guys.Enough said.Even after this white wash.( i supoose it is going to be) you ask any one other then England or Indian fans they will not even give a second thought to say that India is a lot better side.This is just one of those bad days.

    England is a better side in tests ( on their soil) but i will accept you are the best if you win a test series on indian soil.

    Last but not the least , congratz to england for the series win.njoy guyz.

    Infront crocodile festival

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