Bopara, Finn shine in scrappy win
England XI 219 (Bopara 73, Woakes 46*, Khader 3-25) beat Hyderabad XI 163 (Yadav 47, Finn 4-28) by 56 runs
A Steven Finn hat-trick helped England to a 56-run win in their tour opener against a Hyderabad XI at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. Finn dismissed Nos. 7, 10 and 11 in the 37th over to ensure a dominant end to what had been a scrappy first outing for England after they were bowled out for 219. They might not even have got as many as that had it not been for Ravi Bopara's fluent 73, which helped steady the innings after early wickets had been lost.
Hyderabad XI were by no means coasting before Finn's dramatic eighth over ended the match, although Arjun Yadav's 47 had at least kept them in with a shout. Finn had removed captain Dwaraka Ravi Teja - beaten for pace with the new ball - and returned to dismiss a slogging Amol Shinde, before bowling Kaneshuk Naidu and pinning Anwar Khan lbw to end the match.
Yet, his efforts masked just how much pressure England had been under for much of the match, and the contributions of Bopara and Chris Woakes, who cracked an unbeaten 46 before picking up two wickets, should not be underestimated.
On a slow pitch, England had lost Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen inside the first eight overs before Bopara entered to steady the innings, batting with a fluency not seen in his team-mates from the very beginning. Bopara got going with a straight six off Shinde's offspin, and after Jonny Bairstow was dismissed continued to hold the innings together with a 42-run stand in Samit Patel's company.
He reached his fifty from 62 balls and continued the good work to put together the highest stand of the innings with Woakes - 45 for the seventh wicket. When Bopara eventually fell, caught behind driving at Anwar Ahmed in the second over of the powerplay, England were 169 for 7 and under pressure once more.
Woakes did well to shepherd the tail and coax the score past 200, but the innings quickly subsided once his stand with Graeme Swann was broken and more than two overs were left unused as Jade Dernbach's run out brought England's effort to an end.
It looked as though Hyderabad XI might make a fist of their chase when Akshath Reddy hooked the first ball of the second innings, from Finn, over deep backward square for six, but England soon began to make inroads.
Hyderabad XI slipped to 12 for 2 before Yadav and Neeraj Bist got the innings back on track with a 55-run stand for the third wicket. Once they were parted, Woakes turned the tide England's way by removing Mohammed Khader and Ibrahim Khaleel with consecutive deliveries to leave the score at 99 for 5.
Shinde's aggressive 25 suggested the beginnings of a fightback, but his dismissal at Finn's hands brought the contest to a swift end.