The curse of the Sharmas
The déjà vu
The previous international match at Trent Bridge produced an excruciating draw on a slow and low pitch where edges hardly carried to the slip cordon. Those who had been through that were hoping for better when they walked to the ODI. They were to be let down in as early as the fourth over. Mohit Sharma, who bowled a good channel until then, pitched one around off, got it to seam away, drew a healthy outside edge, but it did not carry to the diving Suresh Raina at second slip. A sigh suggesting "here we go again" went around the ground.
Alastair Cook played an odd innings by all account. He survived leading edges, outside edges, inside edges, and in between played some authoritative pulls. At one point, his educated edges just played around with MS Dhoni. By the seventh over, discouraged by the lack of bounce, Dhoni had taken out the second slip and sent him to fine gully. Cook expertly opened the face, it seemed, and edged Bhuvneshwar Kumar through that gap between first slip and gully. It is open to debate if the edge would have carried. In Bhuvneshwar's next over, when Dhoni brought the gully back to second slip, Cook got a stronger, healthier edge which flew through where that gully would have been. Dhoni could only smile.
If you are a Sharma, you must get injured in England. After fashioning the Lord's Test win, Ishant Sharma sat out two Tests with a leg injury that the Indian management never specified the nature of. After Rohit Sharma finally got a half-century on the tour, in the Cardiff ODI, he broke his middle finger while fielding in the same game. Three days later, after finishing his third over, Mohit Sharma called the physio, had his calf tended to by the side of the field, and hobbled off after treatment that lasted two overs. He took a pill, had a crepe bandage put on, and went back to the dressing room with his right boot in his hand. Fourteen overs later, though, he was back on the field.
The dozy moment
When the Indian spinners applied the choke hold on the England middle order, Ian Bell was the only batsman who looked comfortable. The same cannot be said about his running, though. In the 34th over, with the Powerplay just around the corner, Jos Buttler hit Suresh Raina wide of long-off, and the non-striker Bell called for the second, which looked easy enough. Bell went too easy, veered away from the straight line and almost strolled through, only to find to his horror that Mohit's throw hit the stumps direct and found him well short. Raina's reaction was priceless. It looked like he did not entertain any possibility of a run-out, and almost had his back to the action. He suddenly saw that Bell was short and started to celebrate. If Raina did this on purpose, just to lull Bell into thinking this was an easy second, it was sheer genius. It did not look like it, though.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo