A strange game that swung this way and that. England looked to be cruising when they skittled the Indian top order but some excellent late order hitting and decent spin bowling led to a tight finish, with England sneaking home in the end thanks to Ravi Bopara and Tim Bresnan.
This ODI series hadn’t really got going until today, mainly due to the weather affecting the first two matches, but both sides have already suffered with injuries, leading to something resembling a revolving door of selections. As such, it’s been a bit of a challenge to keep up with who’s who and we were a little confused when Ravindra Jadeja came to the crease:
Where did he come from? Was he in the squad for the last game?
Regardless of having only arrived in England a day or so beforehand, he promptly set about batting in a common-sense fashion that appeared to elude those above him in the order, before freeing his arms in the final few overs. He followed this up with a quality spell of slow left arm, getting turn but also picking up two wickets with the one that goes straight on. Not bad going for someone who probably hasn’t had chance to unpack his suitcase yet.
One of the things that seems to seriously divide the 51allout writers (even more than the ongoing ‘is it acceptable to have a glass of gin with breakfast?’ debate) is the place of one Craig Kieswetter. He seems to lurch from bad Kieswetter (making a scratchy 11 off 24 deliveries before holing out to mid off) to good Kieswetter (51 off 46 balls with three sixes) on a game by game basis.
We’ve been talking about England’s ODI wicketkeeper probably every day for the last decade so we won’t say much more, other than to mention that for all his faults, Kieswetter deserves a elongated run in the side, at least through to the end of the tour of India that follows this series. Changing the wicketkeeper yet again would probably be enough to drive us to drink.
A couple of moments stuck out for us today. Firstly Suresh Raina’s glorious village-cricket slog that brought about his dismissal, which was an astonishingly accurate definition of ‘what not to do in the situation’. And secondly something that probably deserves its own section by now:
Hats off to MS Dhoni – we’ve been critical of his keeping throughout this tour but his quick work to run out Ian Bell was superb. From Bell’s perspective, it’s a reminder that he may be in superb touch but that doesn’t mean that the basics can be forgotten.
In the end this game turned into a decent advert for ODI cricket, with a large crowd enjoying a close finish under the floodlights. For England the depth of batting (Bresnan, Broad and Swann at seven, eight and nine respectively) proved to be just enough to get them over the line, despite Jimmy Anderson’s superb start with the ball. For India, it was a much improved performance but a first international win of the tour remains elusive. If they’re to achieve it in either of the two remaining games they’ll need much more from their top order.