England v India, Under-19 World Cup, Colombo February 2, 2006

England claim the warm-up honours

England 186 (Stoneman 64, Bandekar 3-36) beat India 158 (James 3-20, Nelson 3-37) by 28 runs

England's U-19 side shake hands with their Indian counterparts © Cricinfo
Innovative captaincy from Moeen Ali, coupled with a committed bowling effort and electric fielding handed England a highly encouraging 28-run win against India in their first warm-up match ahead of the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka. Mark Stoneman was the standout batsman of the day, crashing 64 off 53 balls, but he was the exception, as both sides struggled on a pitch offering plenty for the spinners at the Bloomfield ground.

England were cruising along after choosing to bat, as Stoneman and Robert Woodman blasted a 97-run stand in 14.2 overs. However, they then lost 5 for 13 in 35 balls, leaving Mark Nelson to halt the slide with a gritty 34. Those runs proved vital, and so would his early strikes with the new ball.

Rohit Sharma's boundary-studded 34 countered Nelson's early brace, sending India's run-rate to the heady heights of 10-an-over and, at times, India seemed too intent on maintaining that blistering pace. However, credit must go to Ali, who was quick to adapt by bringing on the left-arm spin of Graeme White as early as the sixth over, followed by his fellow left-armer Nick James, the Supersub. The moves paid off as first the run-rate slowed, then India played some injudicious shots, at times appearing in too much of a rush when application was the key.

Each decision Ali made in the field brought with it a reward. Taking something of a gamble by returning to pace, Andrew Miller struck in the first over of his second spell - with India 78 for 4, England started to sense they could strangle them.

England's ground fielding was sharp and their catching even sharper, Ali leading the way with a stunning caught and bowled to remove Debabrata Das. A short ball was smashed back at him, which he managed to parry into the air and catch on the rebound.

When Nelson claimed the final wicket, England's reserves ran out to join the victory huddle and the team song was sang with gusto inside the dressing-room. India, tipped as one of the tournament favourites, have been given a early wake-up call as England continue to find form at the right time.

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo