England v India, 3rd ODI, The Oval September 9, 2011

Anderson's second string, India's Crazy Desis

ESPNcricinfo's Plays of the Day from the third ODI between England and India at The Oval

Shy of the day
Under brooding skies and against a tentative opposition, James Anderson made the new ball talk and was responsible for each of the first four wickets to fall. Three of them were regulation victims of his line, length, seam and swing, but one of them - Rahul Dravid - succumbed to Anderson's not-insubstantial second string. There aren't many fast bowlers, and certainly none on the Indian team, who can match Anderson's mobility as a fielder, and when Dravid was slow to respond to a push to mid-off, a dead-eyed pick-up-and-shy caught him six inches from the crease.

Shy of the day Mk 2
MS Dhoni has tried everything to keep India afloat on this tour. He's scored runs (eventually), he's kept wicket (with intermittent lapses), he's even bowled some very tidy overs of swing. And today he resorted to being an outfielder, to haul India back into a contest that had tilted England's way after a break for rain had drawn the sting of India's spin attack. A tidy delivery from Suresh Raina had cannoned off Ian Bell's pad and away into space on the leg side, and the batsman contemplated running a single. However, he hadn't reckoned on Dhoni haring round from behind the stumps, picking up with one hand and shying off-balance before Bell could regain his ground.

Shot(s) of the day
Graeme Swann had a theory as to why Raina has been such a transformed character in the one-day leg of India's tour. Perhaps, Swann suggested, his 42-ball pair on this ground during the fourth Test had caused him to think "sod it, let's have a swing". If that's the case, then Raina's new philosophy was both friend and foe on this occasion. First, in the 13th over, with India floundering on 30 for 4, he got himself right underneath a length ball from Anderson and battered it with eye-popping force over midwicket for six. But five overs (and seven runs) later, he tried the same kitchen-sink approach against Stuart Broad, and feathered a thin edge through to Kieswetter.

Support of the day
On Mike Atherton's disastrous Ashes tour of 1994-95, the term "Barmy Army" was first coined by the Australian press to describe the delirious optimism of the travelling English support. These die-hard fans kept turning up to every single game, regardless of their team's humiliations, and cheered every pyrrhic victory with an enthusiasm that was at once heroic and baffling. Something of the same could be said of the massed ranks of Indian fans who made up at least a third of the Oval support on Friday evening. One supporter on Twitter suggested that he and his fellow countrymen should be known as the "Crazy Desis", which had a ring to it, especially at 58 for 5. But from the moment Dhoni's fifty gave them something tangible to cheer, the decibel levels had only one way to go. It was stirring stuff.

Spectator of the day
Not so long ago, Lalit Modi was the public face of the Indian cricket board, these days his profile is somewhat subdued. So much so that his surprise appearance at The Oval today was his first at an India match since he was shunted out of office in April 2010. He turned up as a guest of the Fire in Babylon producer Ben Goldsmith, tweeted a (very bad) photo of Graeme Swann bowling, then left during the rain break bemoaning the soggy end to what had promised to be a thrilling finale. Turns out he should have hung around, but then again, anything more than 20 overs was never really his bag.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Zain on September 12, 2011, 8:55 GMT

    Although I have limited exposure to Indian cricket, from what I have seen is that in the early part of their careers, most Indian Fast bowlers have shown potential to develop into genuinely good speedsters. Irfan Pathan, Munaf, Ishant & RP are various examples that come to mind. Instead of strait-jacketing them into the usual line & length types, let them loose. We did that with Waqar Younus & Shoaib Akhter and the results have not been that bad!!! (For reference see Waqar in the under-19 series (India vs Pak) played in 1988).

  • Dummy4 on September 11, 2011, 3:01 GMT

    I read in the report "..vindicated Rahul Dravid's decision to retire...." is that why he was recalled to ODI in England while all the other Indian players failed in the test matches? I thought Dravid had signed out of ODI but in England cricket pitch where other players did not perform and a few young players called injury breaks Dravid played in Test and was called to play 20-20, ODI which he played.

  • Martin on September 10, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    @Anshuman Ganguly; calling England a "third rate ODI side" is ridiculous. This "third rate side" was a team india could not beat in the WC recently, and this "third rate team" is currently thrashing india. By my reckoning that makes india a fourth rate side. cricinfo please publish.

  • Dummy4 on September 10, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    @phoenixsteve and landl47 : How can India add 100 more runs..England is the best odi team in the world???isnt it???Then Australia should be no.5 who defeated u 6-1 after Ashes debacle..from 58-5 to 234-7 England lacked killer instict n they still struggle against good spin bowling.Now the reality is : India are ranked 4th and England are ranked 5th in the Odis..I see the current odi series as a battle for 4th Odi ranking spot n may be even 3rd and once this series is over,the battle for the same spot will begin in India...If you are saying India are WC champs n tht should satisfy your winning,then u r acknowledging that India actually won it by skill whether at home or not and not by fluke...To add,England has the best batting lineup in the world...wonder y they never bat first with such mighty batting line up...Bell or Pietersen(had he playled) would have scored another 200 in Odis and England would have crossed 400 for the 1st tym..

  • Oliver on September 10, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    @Anshuman Ganguly: what ABD1 was doing was pointing out the stupidity of trying to make "certain" predictions in cricket! For example, in the washed out game, yes, India had a small advantage, but no-one can say they definitely would have won. Think back to Edgbaston, where England were 124-8 - who would have predicted a victory by over 300 runs then? That's the beauty of cricket. As for the D/L reduction: OK, so England faced fewer overs of spin as a result, but the target wasn't reduced as much as you might expect (17 runs for 7 overs), so that compensates for it.

  • Atit on September 10, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    @Lmaotsetung- Come on man you are talking about your 2 best odi batsman not playing, India is not playing Sachin, Sehwag, Gambhir and Youraj all 4 top class batsman. But I am not crying that who is playing and who is not. I am also saying that England is a superior team right now than India. What I am doing is that I am trying to compare both the team one on one and to me it still seams that the only difference is bowling attack. Guys I know England is on top but try to fly low because you never know when a team crumbles down like India did. Moreover I would like to see England playing against a good bowling attack team.

  • Dummy4 on September 10, 2011, 11:22 GMT

    The Indian team is going to receive similar support in Australia at end of the year. Many fans like me have already booked our tickets to all the Sydney games n they r selling faster than even WC tickets. We know deep down this team has shown great character despite such a horror tour. Just because the results have been on the wrong side doesn't mean we are a bad team. Without 4 of their regular top 5 batsmen and 3 of their regular 4 bowlers this team has taken each of the ODI right till the end. We are proud of even yesterday's performance where the team bounced back from 58/5 in 19 overs to actually bat out the 50 overs. All the Indian team haters this is your golden opportunity to have a go at us but your mouths will be shut very soon.

  • Dummy4 on September 10, 2011, 11:08 GMT


  • Dummy4 on September 10, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    @ADB1 ur making silly excuses, There was no need for Bell's second run as the run rate was below 6. Ur team panics when they have to achieve a run rate of 5.85 over 15 overs? No wonder you're such a third rate ODI side. And the way Trott, Stokes, Kieswetter, and even Bell etc. were struggling against our spinners, yes, u were surely going to lose this game if u had to face 30 overs of spin(had the match not been reduced)

  • sunny on September 10, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    i want to make an appeal to indian supporters dnt think like that the same thing will happen to england when england will come to india.it may be that the same thing will happen to england but this is not the right way to think,it means its all about the home conditions nothing to do with cricket n criketing talent,then wats is the meaning of competition n lose n win,it means the home team will win,we should not make excuses n sud not wait for the england tour of india,we sud admit that indian team has played v badly n its not all about playing badly its worse than that this team has shown no fighting instinct no try no killing intentions the approach of the team is very hurting, dhoni dsnt want to listen any body, the captain is working like a dictator, he is just gng with his personal thnking he is nthng to do with the team,his adamant nature is posing big negative picture of indian cricket,a team gng with no.1 ranking in test world champ in odi,n comng bck without a single win..

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