England v India, 4th ODI, Old Trafford August 30, 2007

England ride on Broad shoulders



Stuart Broad after his Man-of-the-Match performance: "There's always room for improvement and we'll make sure we improve by Sunday." © Getty Images

This is the sort of game that can either lift you tremendously or leave you utterly deflated. An upbeat Paul Collingwood hailed the partnership between the two youngest members of his side - Ravi Bopara and Stuart Broad - and felt that England needed to be "ruthless" from now on, while an expectedly downcast Rahul Dravid was left pondering what could have been.

"I think you have to go through these kinds of situations along the way," said Collingwood at the end of the day. "You sometimes see the characters of people. Today we've seen two characters [Bopara and Broad] who've done exceptionally well. You learn a lot from these experiences. India were coming hard at us and have done all summer. And they finished not out as well.

"We came in at the break and thought we'd won it but seven down in 25 overs and you think you've blown it. To have the maturity to go out there, stay calm, know the scoring areas and to go about the job in a mature way ... it's brilliant."

Broad not only managed his highest one-day score but also took his career-best bowling figures and was the obvious choice for man of the match. "The unit has been bowling with a lot of confidence," he said. "The way Fred [Flintoff] and Jim [Anderson] bowled in the second Powerplay was fantastic. There's always room for improvement and we'll make sure we improve by Sunday. It was great to get four wickets but more pleasing to win the game.

Dravid admitted that his side's fielding had let them down once again, adding that they'd fallen 20-30 runs short. "Our fielding is an area that does hurt us, especially in these type of low-scoring games," he said in a dejected tone. "We had seven guys inside the ring to stop the single and still the opposition manages to get singles. It is tough. I also think we were 25-30 runs light to start off with as 240, I thought, was a good score on that wicket.

"They do bat lower down the order," said Dravid when asked if he thought the game was stitched up at 114 for 7. "I think Broad coming at No. 9 is a huge thing for them. They played sensibly and they are not the lower order sloggers. The other big advantage they had was that the run-rate was low. When Bopara and Broad came into bat - even if they were chasing four-and-a-half runs an over - our aim was to drag the run rate up to five. We tried everything we could, tried to change the ends, tried to bring the seamers in, but did not get that one chance to get that wicket."

How easy will it be to lift themselves for the rest of the series, especially after such a shattering loss? "It is tough but when we reach Headingley, we will know in the back of our mind that we could have won this game. While that will be disappointing, we know the games have been close, and equations could have been easily different."

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

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