England v India, 1st ODI, Southampton August 21, 2007

'Today was a kind of a perfect game' - Collingwood

Paul Collingwood: Belly and Cookie were "amazing between the wickets" © Getty Images

It is not too often that you hear the phrase "perfect one-day game" but that is exactly what both captains felt England had achieved in the first one-day international at the Rose Bowl. An upbeat Paul Collingwood urged his side to consistently turn in similar performances while an expectedly downcast Rahul Dravid spoke of "concerns".

"It was one of our best performances for some time," said Collingwood. "The way the batters went about it, positive right through. I think we've had such phases in the past but we're looking for consistency. Today was a kind of a perfect game. It's a great start for us but we need to continue with that rhythm and momentum."

Collingwood admitted he too was planning to field first - "I was 50-50 but the coin came down the wrong way" - but applauded what was a fine team effort. "Cookie" proved he was a "very good opener", "Fred was fantastic" and "Dimi does what Dimi does". Belly and Cookie were "amazing between the wickets" and even Owais Shah, who missed out today, "will play a lot of one-day cricket in the future". Hope springs eternal.

Bell continued in a similarly bullish vein, relieved to have finally made a one-day hundred in his 48th match. "It's taken time but to be there at the end was great. There's a few knocks I remember well but people remember hundreds. I'm happy I could go through with it. It was a good pitch, we weren't too sure what a good score was. I was just trying to score as many. The key for me was my shot selection, the areas I was trying to hit the ball."

Dravid, addressing the media in the same indoor facility where his side had practised a couple of days ago, felt India needed to return to the drawing board. "No excuses. We were outplayed today," he said. "They played a perfect one-day game. You want someone in your top 2-3 to get a hundred and they had two of them doing that. I thought there would be a bit more in the pitch. There was something for the bowlers but it was a bit slow. They rotated the strike well."

The shoddy batting, flat bowling and sloppy fielding would have hurt but the three reckless run-outs might have been the last straw. "We need to go on improving. Fielding isn't our strong area and we're not going to develop strong arms and athletic legs overnight. But we need to constantly work on it and make small improvements. What we must to is not make stupid mistakes while running between the wickets. That's something we can definitely avoid."

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is assistant editor of Cricinfo