India v England, 7th ODI, Indore April 15, 2006

Starting on the right note

Robin Uthappa's knock ensured that what might have been a tough run-chase turned out to be a walk in the park

Without Virender Sehwag and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, chasing 289 in 50 overs might have been a tall order, but the start India got ensured that it turned out to be a walk in the park. The star of the show was Robin Uthappa, in his first one-day international. Intent on playing aggressively from the start, he pushed England on the defensive early, and make it easy for the rest of the batsmen to chase down the target.

As the graphic below shows, Uthappa's predominant stroke was the front-foot drive on either side of the wicket. Even short balls were met with a forward stride, a tendency which international bowlers will surely try to exploit. How Uthappa copes with it will be interesting to see, but for the moment he has the highest score by an Indian debutant in ODIs, beating the 82 that Brijesh Patel made against England in the 1974 World Cup.

India's hero with the ball was another relative newcomer, Sreesanth. His 6 for 55 was only the sixth instance of an Indian bowler taking six in an ODI, and the third-best figures by an Indian. (Click here for a list of five-fors by Indian bowlers in ODIs.)

England's only bright spark throughout this series has been Kevin Pietersen, who shone with the bat yet again. He ended the series with an aggregate of 291, the highest from either side. Throughout his ODI career so far, he has been amazingly consistent: only six times in 30 innings has he fallen for less than 20.

On the Ball with S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo.