A question was put to Gautam Gambhir in the media room on Monday evening about whether the Indians could pick up some lessons watching the Englishmen go about its preparations in the shorter format which has now made them the World No. 1.
Surprisingly, England seems to have picked up a few lessons from the Indian team. On Tuesday evening, in a Nehru Stadium overflowing with nearly 60,000 roaring fans here, the visitor encountered problems that India has been familiar with the last few weeks. Under pressure, it folded up, offering India a very tasty 127-run victory that the levelled the five-match Airtel ODI Series 1-1.
There were plenty of fireworks too as captain M.S. Dhoni, with an impressive 72 that included two sixes and seven fours, and Ravindra Jadeja, with an unbeaten 61 from 37 balls (2x6, 8x4), lifted India from a poor start to a strong 285 with a 96-run sixth-wicket stand that laid the road for the massive victory.
Plunder at the end
The death overs had been a big worry for India in the last game. On Tuesday, it turned out to be a horrible problem for England which conceded 82 runs from the last six overs — with medium pacers Chris Woakes and Jade Dernbach taking much of the punishment — when Dhoni and Jadeja were on stage. Life has turned wonderfully well too for UP paceman Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. Just four days ago, he was pinned as one of the culprits of the Rajkot loss after giving away 18 runs in the last over.
On Tuesday, the 22-year-old paceman, playing just his fifth game, played a crucial role in the victory by taking the prized scalps of the English captain Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan — the last two in the space of three deliveries — that saw England shot out for 158 in just 36 overs. “From being 60 for one and then losing three quick wickets, that was the turning point,” said Cook after the match. “Also, Dhoni’s partnership with Jadeja.”
The opening stand had been England’s forte in the warm-up games and in the ODI opener at Rajkot.
But here, opener Ian Bell, who has been in best form of his life last year and had scored a very impressive 85 at Rajkot, fell offering an edge to Dhoni off Shami Ahmed.
There was a 54-run stand between Cook and Kevin Pietersen but after that, it was virtually a quick procession back to the pavilion.
India had a bad start too on a wicket that offered some seam movement early and a bit of turn. After Dhoni had opted to bat, the host lost its openers within the space of just four balls in the fourth and fifth overs with the score on 18.
Gambhir was the first to make the exit, falling to one from Dernbach that came in sharply. Three balls later, his partner Ajinkya Rahane also perished without adding to the score. And suddenly, India appeared to be on shaky ground.
But decent stands for the next three wickets — Virat Kohli figured in two of them — along with Suresh Raina’s half century helped India breathe a bit easy though the run rate was at a mediocre 4.42 till the 40th over and moved to 5.70 after Dhoni’s fiery innings along with Jadeja.
India: A. Rahane b Finn 4 (14b), G. Gambhir b Dernbach 8 (13b, 1x4), V. Kohli c Bell b Woakes 37 (54b, 1x6, 1x4), Yuvraj lbw b Tredwell 32 (37b, 5x4), S. Raina b Finn 55 (78b, 2x4, 2x6), M.S. Dhoni c Root b Dernbach 72 (66b, 7x4, 2x6), R. Jadeja (not out) 61 (37b, 8x4, 2x6), R. Ashwin (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (lb-5, w-10): 15; Total (for six wkts. in 50 overs): 285.
Fall of wickets: 1-18 (Gambhir), 2-18 (Rahane), 3-71 (Yuvraj), 4-119 (Kohli), 5-174 (Raina), 6-270 (Dhoni).
England bowling: Finn 10-1-51-2, Dernbach 9-0-73-2, Woakes 9-0-60-1, Patel 10-0-43-0, Tredwell 10-0-48-1, Root 2-0-5-0.
England: A. Cook lbw b Bhuvneshwar 17 (27b, 3x4), I. Bell c Dhoni b Shami 1 (6b), K. Pietersen b Bhuvneshwar 42 (44b, 7x4), J. Root b Jadeja 36 (50b, 3x4), E. Morgan c Dhoni b Bhuvneshwar 0 (2b), C. Kieswetter c Raina b Ashwin 18 (38b, 3x4), S. Patel (not out) 30 (29b, 3x4, 1x6), C. Woakes lbw b Jadeja 0 (3b), J. Tredwell lbw b Ashwin 1 (10b), S. Finn c Dhoni b Ashwin 0 (1b), J. Dernbach (run out) 2 (6b); Extras (b-5, lb-2, w-4): 11; Total (in 36 overs): 158.
Fall of wickets: 1-4 (Bell), 2-58 (Cook), 3-73 (Pietersen), 4-73 (Morgan), 5-110 (Kieswetter), 6-132 (Root), 7-132 (Woakes), 8-135 (Tredwell), 9-135 (Finn).
India bowling: Bhuvneshwar 10-2-29-3, Shami 4-1-24-1, Ishant 4-0-28-0, Jadeja 7-1-12-2, Yuvraj 4-0-19-0, Ashwin 7-0-39-3.