India v England, 1st ODI, Rajkot January 11, 2013

All-round England make a winning-start


England 325 for 4 (Bell 85, Cook 75) beat India 316 for 9 (Yuvraj 61, Gambhir 52, Raina 50, Tredwell 4-44) by nine runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

India had never chased more than 325 to win an ODI on home soil and, if the old India might have regarded England as ripe for the taking, this present side lacks the same formidable presence. They came close, but when Ishant Sharma was left to hit Jade Dernbach's last two balls for six to win the match, India probably knew in their hearts that the game was up.

England had lost 16 of their last 18 ODIs in India and two defeats in their warm-up matches did not auger well, but they served up a victory for their new limited-overs coach, Ashley Giles, at the first time of asking and will now face the rest of the five-match series in the belief that they are in an even series.

The first international at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium lavished favours upon the batsmen. The pitch was amenable and the outfield glassy and there were many times when India's chase looked bound for success, not least when Yuvraj Singh struck a 38-ball fifty or MS Dhoni, furious that the water carriers did not seem to be living his dream, cleared the ropes four times in three overs.

But James Tredwell, with international-best figures of 4 for 44, stood firm. An understudy to Graeme Swann in England's ODI side, he now has a chance to assert himself with Swann resting out of the series, although "assert himself" is probably the wrong phrase because he is a mild-mannered unassuming chap, very much the introvert to Swann's extrovert.

This was only his 10th ODI, and the first time India had seen him. To their cost, four top batsmen now know a little bit more. Ajinkya Rahane and Gautam Gambhir had prospered against England's quick bowlers, but Tredwell dismissed them in successive overs, tossing one high to have Rahane caught at long-off and then deceiving Gambhir in the flight to have him caught at short midwicket.

None of England's thumpings came any worse than the 158-run defeat at Rajkot's old Madhavrao Scindia ground five years ago when Yuvraj, with 138, set about them. At a new stadium - immediately distinctive because of its Lord's-style media box - Yuvraj threatened to work his old magic, until he back-drove Tredwell to Jade Dernbach at short fine leg.

Briefly, it seemed as if the match might hinge on a reprieve for Suresh Raina, on 46, when he drove at Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan claimed a catch at third man, fairly enough, but there was just enough of a possibility on the TV replay that the ball had brushed the ground for the third umpire, Vineet Kulkarni, to rule "not out." India still needed 95 from 10 overs at that point, but Tredwell soon straightened one on a placid surface and held Raina's soft return catch. Swann would have looked ready to burst into song at that; Tredwell merely smiled in surprise.

The crowd were stirred, nevertheless, chants of "Dhoni, Dhoni" gaining in intensity after an outrageous one-handed six off Samit Patel. But Dernbach, whose line to the left-handers had been so awry that it demanded a scribbled reminder to do better if he could find space on those powerful, tattooed forearms, removed Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja in the same over, Dhoni failing to muscle a slower ball over long-off.

As serenely as Ian Bell and Alastair Cook proceeded to give England a flattering start, in an opening stand of 158 in 27.4 overs, England's most destructive batsmen, Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan, were restricted to a brace of 40s. An uninhibited final fling by Patel, who made 44 not out from 20 balls, as 38 came from the last two overs, was a necessary flourish. Ishant, who always seemed to be bowling at the wrong time, conceded 20 in the penultimate over and leaked 86 in all.

Bell again looked so comfortable at the top of England's order in 50-over cricket that it is now hard to believe it took him so long to settle there. There was nothing outlandish in his strokeplay, just an exercise in technique and timing. His form has been a boon to Giles, their productive relationship at Warwickshire restated at international level.

Bell, on 15, edged Bhuvneshwar Kumar between MS Dhoni and R Ashwin, who was virtually stood at second slip, with both fielders motionless. It was apparent in the Test series that Dhoni's captaincy responsibilities sometimes submerge his keeping and he remained rooted. But these moments soon became distant regrets as Bell crept up the pitch surreptitiously in search of elegant drives.

Cook was not quite as mellifluous, but his resourcefulness is beyond doubt. Whatever he puts his mind to at the moment, he achieves and he is minded to lead England to a one-day series win in India. That would not be one of his most important prizes, but it would be one of his most remarkable.

Bell was run out by Rahane, who hit direct as the batsman tried to steal a single to short fine leg and chose not to dive for the crease; Rahane also had a hand in Cook's dismissal, although on this occasion he had no need to exert himself in the same position as Cook top-edged a sweep off Raina.

Raina sneaked in five overs for 18 as England's innings slowed; Joe Root, on debut, was to do the same for England later. Others had less cause for pleasure: Ashwin's tactic of stalling in his delivery stride, a method first employed by Robert Croft for England, was over-used and disturbed his own rhythm more than the batsmen's.

To see Pietersen and Morgan joining forces at 172 for 2 in the 32nd over was unnerving for India, but both began tentatively as Morgan, after some whip-crack flat-batting, fell to a return catch by Ashok Dinda, who fumbled and cradled the rebound. Pietersen lofted Dinda to long-on. Just when it seemed that England's innings was losing impetus, Patel proved otherwise.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on January 14, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    @baranasai True, but that may not be a good thing. England was coming off a huge run of defeats, had lost their two warm-ups badly and was surely short of confidence. If the best that India could do, having just pulled-off a good win against Pakistan that should have helped self-belief was to compete, does that really auger well for the second match where England will know that they can win and will want to do it again? The moment to catch England cold was, surely, the first match, wasn't it?

  • swapnil on January 14, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    Really expected by India even as an Indian fan. Honestly only an Hardcore Indian fan will say that India is gonna win this series. We defeated more or less this same team 5-0 twice and now struggling to score 300 on a road. And btw, non related to the match but please we Indian fans shouldn't over hype pujara. He is scoring runs, but our domestic bowling is shite. Just like we said kohli that he is the next sachin, now unable to score runs against good bowling side. Remember what happened to pujara in SA?

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Drs must be allowed by BCCI because many decision has gone other way and india can afford udrs icc should implement on india forcefully as icc is bigger than bcci

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    I like to comment on India practice session In kolkata where India lost, they have enough time upto 8 days before the test match after losing in mumbai but they went on to practice when england practice that is on sunday if they had arrived before england 2 days before reault has been different same against Pakistan they party in night for new year and skip the practice session on 1st jan just a day before they pracice in kolkata they lost again they against england they done the same mistake they started practicing just a day before and england team practice in evening two days before rajkot match. the attitude they are showing very much unprofessional. And Captain Dhoni must be rested because he looks jaded in this series. he have been playing continuously not working for india and rest duncan fletcher as a coach

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    SRT retires and India loses to an England B team. Indian cricket has devolved to the 80s (to the pre SRT era). Players like Aswin, Jadeja, Gambhir wouldnt make it to most 90s Indian teams. If India's no 1 spinner is Aswin atm, then god help them in the coming months. He is terrible.

  • v on January 14, 2013, 4:03 GMT

    i think india will loose this series too.. they have over-rated themselves. actually they cant beat Zim or BAN teams too ...

  • karthik on January 14, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    Dhoni excels in picking the worst possible team irrespective of the quality of players in the squad.I guess a soft coach like Duncan doesn't help either.Nobody who watches the proceedings from such close quarters can just overlook such atrocious selections unless there's a huge incentive to do otherwise.May be that;s what BCCI is doing it.

    Mohinder Amarnath would have been the best thing that could have happened to selection committee the least he would have fired the utterly hopeless Dhoni as captain from test side ..alas not to be!

  • biju on January 14, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    I would say since veru is outfrom the team yuvi should open the innings and let him play his natural stroke like veeru does,gambir should be the captain My final eleven is Yuvi,rahane,gambir,pujara,kholi,dhoni,raina,irfan,buvaneshkumar,praveen kumar rahul sharma for both one day and t20 reserve players,manoj thivary,aswain,ambadi rayidu,sreesanth

    if pathan and manoj thivary is not available,we can consider shamiahemad and Under 19captain chand

  • Rob on January 13, 2013, 22:28 GMT

    Sam Sloane on (January 12 2013, 09:26 AM GMT) I don't know if you are aware but Sachin retired from ODI's so making him captain is not really an option. Hoping to see more sporting pitches but that is like hoping for a long hot summer in England.

  • Maz on January 13, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    Yeah, I think MS Dhoni is still right person to lead the Indian team. I am a Pakistani supporter but its always nice to see cool Dhoni,s captaincy. He is one of my favourite player in cricket world. I think its time for India to have a balance side, i mean you can,t win the games on your batting all the time, you have to be a balance side. India is always rely on there batting and go with thd extra batsmen, which is negative approch. I know thet havd won the two ICC cups, but still u need a balance side to be No-1 side in the world. Indian batting has been below part recently, they have to perform by now. And i hope India will be top side again and MS Dhoni is gonna be top captain in the world. Good Luck to India for the next four games against England.