Raina sees India homeAlex Crampton |
Suresh Raina’s unbeaten 81, a career best, took India to a four wicket win over England and to a 2-0 lead in the series.
At 92-5, chasing the 227 England had set them earlier, India looked in trouble. After Sehwag and Gambhir had taken advantage of some poor bowling to compile a 61-run opening stand, the Indians lost five wickets for 31 runs in 11 overs.
It was Ian Blackwell who made the first breakthrough, as Virender Sehwag played on. An ugly slog from Gambhir followed shortly, giving James Anderson a simple return catch. Skipper Dravid was soon in the pavilion as well, run out after trying for a single after the ball had already hit the stumps. Liam Plunkett took the next wicket, Kaif tried to pull one that stayed low and was given lbw. Another batsman playing on gave Ian Blackwell his second wicket, this time Yuvraj for 18.
It was Dhoni and Raina who rescued India and all but secured them victory. Two of the fresher faces in the India side, they played with all their maturity in their 100-run partnership. Dhoni, much maligned, and rightly so, following his antics in the Mumbai Test, was particularly reserved, his first boundary came after he had batted for 78 minutes.
Raina scored the bulk of the runs in the partnership, with wristy drives and taking 15 runs off a Kabir Ali over. Dhoni fell before the end dragging on after resisting the urge to slog for so long. Even so, the remaining runs were no problem, and Pathan and Raina knocked them off with an over to spare.
As England compiled 226 batting first, it was another Indian youngster who impressed. On debut, portly off-spinner Ramesh Powar claimed three wickets and only conceded 34 runs from his 10 overs. Prior and Strauss started well, putting on 66 before Powar’s spin partner, Harbhajan Singh, trapped Prior lbw.
Owais Shah was Powar’s first ODI wicket, inside edging onto his pad and to the keeper. With Pietersen and Strauss together, Raina dropped Pietersen on 3. After this, the pair shared a sensible partnership, where boundaries were scarce yet singles were abundant. It was Powar who broke the partnership, bowling Strauss as he came down the track. He picked up the crucial wicket of Flintoff in his next over, stumped as he came down the track.
As Pietersen got into his stride with some boundaries, brilliance from Dhoni ran out Collingwood. One of Pietersen’s two sixes brought up his 1000th ODI run, the quickest to the milestone along with Viv Richards. Once Pietersen had holed out next ball, the tail provided disappointingly few runs, and England were bowled out for 226.
England 226 all out
Kevin Pietersen 71, Andrew Strauss 71
Ramesh Powar 3/34, Sreesanth 3/40
Suresh Raina 81*, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 38
Ian Blackwell 2/39