RAJKOT-Confident batting and off-spinner James Tredwell's timely strikes structured England 9-run win over India in the 1st ODI at the brand new Saurashtra Cricket Stadium here, on Friday. England posted a grand 325 on the back of a big opening stand between Ian Bell -85 and skipper Alastair Cook -75 after choosing to bat and then controlled India to 316/9 as a mounting asking rate took its toll in the chase.
Tredwell, who is touring as a substitute of the rested Graeme Swann, claimed 4/44, ensuring that the excellent work of Samit Patel when England batted was not wasted. Patel had clubbed an unbeaten 44 in just 20 balls at the far end of the visitors' innings, as 38 came off the last 2 overs. Although India looked in the chase for the most part, England got breakthrough at crucial times. Gautam Gambhir -52, Ajinkya Rahane -47, Yuvraj Singh -61 and Suresh Raina -50 all contributed. But once MS Dhoni -32 was out in the 45th over after striking a run of sixes, the task proved to be outside India's lower order.
India had to complete their biggest chase on home soil to take the series lead. They began well and openers Gambhir and Rahane were entirely untroubled as they piled on 96. Gambhir was the more exploratory of the 2. He stole several boundaries between slip and gully against some wayward pace bowling, reaching his 50 in 48 balls. Both gave up their wickets in successive overs by Tredwell, against whom they never looked comfortable. An upset Rahane holed out to long off and Gambhir’s casual flick was held by Bell at mid-wicket. Kohli-15 stepped out to blaze Tim Bresnan.
Yuvraj and Raina got together at 138/3 and added 60 in nine overs. Yuvraj was in his element and needed just 38 balls to complete his half-century, which included a six off Bresnan. His was a needless dismissal. One ball before the Batting Power play, Yuvraj paddle-scooped a Tredwell long hop straight to short fine leg. Raina was dropped on 46 by Bresnan at third man after replays indicated that the ball had touched the ground as the fielder dived. Raina could add just four more to his score before he lobbed the ball back to Tredwell for his fourth wicket. The asking rate had now begun a steady climb towards the 10 mark as Dhoni went on a six-hitting spree, but his luck - and India's - eventually ran out.
Of the 15 losses that England have endured in their last 16 ODIs in India, none was more humiliate than the 158-run shellacking in Rajkot some 5 years ago. That was a different stadium, and England made a strong charge towards correct their lop-sided record at the spanking new venue. Bell and Cook added 158 in their opening alliance after choosing to bat on the flattest of pitch. The innings reached an increase in the last couple of overs, as samit Patel and Craig Kieswetter thrashed India principal pacers, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, for 38runs.
Bell appeared to be the most fluent of England batsmen’s. Although he had scored 91 and 108 in the practice games at Delhi, Bell took some time to get his eye in. He edge Bhuvneshwar through the vacant 1st slip region, neither Dhoni nor R. Ashwin moving a muscle from their particular stations. Then began a series of drives. Straight down against Bhuvneshwar, leaning towards off against a wayward Ishant Sharma as England went along happily at just under 6runs-per over. Bell brought up his half-century in 60 balls with a tight reverse paddle against Jadeja, who justified his place ahead of Cheteshwar Pujara by bowling carefully while everybody else was getting the stick.
the first wicket fell –and justifiably so – to a run out, when Ajinkya Rahane’s direct hit from short well leg found Bell short. Cook went to a top-edged slog-sweep off Suresh Raina, caught by Rahane in the circle, as another fruitful alliance began. Pietersen and Eoin Morgan added 76 in just under 11 overs as Dhoni mixed and matches his bowling combinations. Morgan looked mainly dangerous when he carted Sharma and Dinda for sixes, but was out when he drove loosely at a slower delivery from the latter for a catch that Dinda clasped to his chest as he went down.
India would have hoped to arrest England after Pietersen fell in the 44th over. But Patel and Kieswetter smashed 76 in 37 balls. Patel, who had come ahead of debutant Joe Root, wreaked havoc with six fours and a six, his blitz culminating in 20 runs off Bhuvneshwar last over of the innings. The seven bowlers that Dhoni tried out were – aside from Jadeja and Raina – all clobbered. Ishant leaked runs at almost nine-an over as England posted a winning total on a lightning quick outfield.
Ian Bell -85
Alastair Cook -75
Gautam Gambhir -52
10 Over-44 runs 4 wickets