A genuinely exciting game that lurched violently from one extreme to the other ended up with Messrs Duckworth and Lewis taking the honours as the rain poured down in the dark.
A tough choice here. Despite pre-match predictions to the contrary, it was definitely a day for the batsmen and yet only four of them made it past 50. Ian Bell’s was a typically elegant affair, albeit at a relatively sedate pace, while MS Dhoni initally played exactly the sort of calm innings that India were so desperate for during the Test series before letting loose in the final overs.
But it was the top scorers for both sides that impressed most. We’ve criticised Suresh Raina quite heavily on 51allout before, mainly for batting as if he was some sort of competition winner, but he put England’s attack to the sword here, complete with hitting a Stuart Broad slower ball into the second tier. Such was our surprise, someone managed to knock over a glass of gin. This in turn lead to an almighty bollocking from Mrs 51allout.
Ravi Bopara is another one that hasn’t exactly had us spilling our gin in the past but here he produced exactly the sort of sensible, mature innings that has previously proved far beyond him. It’s hard to criticise him for his dismissal in the end (after Swann was run out, Steve Finn emerged from the pavilion in place of the injured Stuart Broad; Bopara clearly had little faith in his new partner and tried to clear the boundary, but was caught a couple of yards short). Having got England to that position was impressive enough, given that at 61/3 with no Pietersen or Morgan to come, the game seemed already lost.
This game ended in what can only be described as chaos. Unsurprisingly, both sides were keen to get off when they were ahead and desperate to stay on when they were behind. Amidst the confusion, it could be argued that the ‘spirit of cricket’ got a little lost, but it’s probably better to just enjoy seeing two teams who desperately wanted to win. In a world of far too much meaningless ODI cricket it made a nice change.
After all the chaos and confusion comes the sobering truth: India have yet to win an international fixture this summer. Given that Cardiff is almost certainly into monsoon season (and we’re talking from experience here. Seriously: 2011 freshers at Cardiff uni – take a dinghy) it may have been their last chance. For England yet another sucessful series is under the belt and the signs are that the ODI team is becoming more streetwise, even though they still have it all to prove outside of English conditions.