August 31, 2014
Choice of game
Trent Bridge is one of my favourite grounds in England, so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to watch an England v India ODI there. While I was supporting England, the crowd was largely mixed, with the Indians the more vocal of the two sides.
One thing I'd have changed in the match
While it was a fun day out at Trent Bridge, as an England fan the poor batting performance was disappointing as it virtually ended the match as a contest. I would have liked to have seen how England went about defending a larger total of around 270, or even if India had chosen to bat first and set an imposing total.
Face-off I relished
Alex Hales has been placed at the top of the England order to add some impetus to the Powerplay and I wanted to see how he'd perform against the Indian opening bowlers in helpful conditions. After a cautious start he played some brilliant drives and it was a shame when he fell for the second consecutive innings in his 40s as he tried to sweep the part-timer Suresh Raina. Hales' wicket precipitated a familiar batting collapse for England fans as England went from 82 for 0 to 149 for 6, a position from which they never really recovered.
Trial by spin
England's familiar failings against spin cost them the match in Cardiff, and once again the English batsmen struggled against R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and even Raina. In the 30 overs of spin bowled, England scored 122 for 6 as they were crippled by a lack of boundaries and some soft dismissals. While the Trent Bridge pitch did appear receptive to turn, this failing continues to haunt England and is a worrying sign so soon before a World Cup.
Shots of the day
England certainly left their assault of the Indian bowlers late due to the regular loss of wickets, but James Tredwell made up for that with some brilliant shots belying his single-figure ODI average. Against Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the last over he drove through the covers for the first boundary before adding a huge six over long-on to record England's first six of the innings. Unfortunately the fun was over after he was deceived by a slower ball in the penultimate delivery of the innings, but this was not before another boundary, which gave England 17 runs of the final over.
Mohit Sharma's spectacular direct hit from the deep seemed to surprise the crowd even more than Ian Bell, who ended up just short. The wicket came at a pivotal moment in England's innings as they were looking to rebuild and this brilliant piece of fielding could have decided the match.
Despite this being a "home" match for England, as always there was a strong Indian contingent in enjoying their side's dominance after a disappointing Test series. They were in full song today despite the easy nature of the chase, cheering every boundary loudly and taunting the few English supporters in the crowd.
Various players were posted on the boundary edge closest to me throughout the game, however, it was Jimmy Anderson who predictably got the loudest response. Anderson was booed as soon as he walked onto the field for the second innings and once again whenever he approached the boundary, with the England fans' cheers largely drowned out.
Marks out of ten
8. Overall it was a fun day of cricket, with the Indian fans in good voice. Unfortunately England's poor batting performance meant that most of India's chase was purely perfunctory.
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Ali Merali is a young Middlesex and England supporter who enjoys watching his teams play whenever he can. He is trying to create a board game that combines the excitement of T20 cricket with the strategy and intrigue of the Test match and would appreciate any support on Kickstarter.
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