India v Engand, 3rd ODI, Goa April 3, 2006

Adapting to the conditions

On a dodgy pitch where strokeplay wasn't easy, Yuvraj Singh's scintillating 76-ball 103 was the difference between the two sides

On a dodgy pitch where strokeplay wasn't easy, Yuvraj Singh's scintillating 76-ball 103 was the difference between the two sides. Only one other player - Paul Collingwood - managed to score at more than a run a ball over a prolonged period of time, but while most of Collingwood's runs came when the result was almost sealed, Yuvraj's knock turned an even contest India's way quite emphatically.

Yuvraj's wagon-wheel indicates how well he adapted to the conditions. Usually a strong driver down the ground, Yuvraj today cut out those firm hits between mid-off and mid-on: 75 of his 103 runs came square of the wicket on either side. Sajid Mahmood was his favourite bowler, going for 35 from 16 balls, but against all the bowlers except Ian Blackwell, he scored a run a ball or more - Blackwell went for just 10 from 12 deliveries.

Once considered the future of Indian middle-order batting, at least in the one-dayers, the fortunes of Yuvraj and Mohammad Kaif couldn't have been more contrasting over the last few months. Yuvraj has been in the form of his life, averaging 93 in his last 13 ODIs; Kaif, on the other hand, has an aggregate of 93 from his last 11 innings.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo