They didn’t take a pasting as they did at Rajkot and Indore. In fact, one could argue that they were within striking distance of a win. But England did lose. This time, they were done in by bad light and two of their countrymen – Messers. Duckworth and Lewis.
But even before that, they could only manage a below par score of 240. The English did change the batting order as was expected. Ravi Bopara at the top gave a much better start than what they were used to. But the middle order didn’t capitalize on it this time around. Credit should go to the Indian bowlers, though – particularly Harbhajan Singh, who grabbed his 200th ODI wicket in the game and was even named Man of the Match.
England were eventually bowled out with 2 balls to spare in the revised 49 over game. For India, no one really got going with the exception of Sehwag. Sehwag, by his standards, played a slow subdued game scoring 68 of 76 balls and struck a useful partnership with Rohit Sharma (who scored 28). Yuvraj, the bête noire of the English in this series, was caught trying to the pull the ball of Flintoff’s bowling. But by that time, India were ahead of the D/L target and managed to stay there before light was offered to the batsmen.
England can take a few positives from the game, but they have to be concerned with the bowling of Anderson and the form of Collingwood. India have won the first three games of the series, two of them on the back of some excellent batting from Yuvraj – Rohit Sharma and Raina will have to lift their game.
The Indian team for the next two games has been announced – Vijay makes way for Tendulkar, while RP Singh makes way for Irfan Pathan. It would be tempting to drop either Rohit Sharma or Suresh Raina for Tendulkar – but what I would like to see is rest Sehwag for the next two games, while Tendulkar plays. He could then come back into the team, while Dhoni rests for the last two games of the series. India would then have to get a replacement wicket keeper for the last two games.
(I wonder if Dinesh Karthick with his double hundred and good showing behind the stumps in his last Ranji game has done enough to be given another chance at the International level after his recent failures? And Parthiv Patel still hasn’t found form this season so far)
I would also like to see Ishant play just two of the next four games, while Pragyan Ojha and Virat Kohli get a game or two. It would also be interesting to see if Robin Uthappa (who has had a couple of centuries in the Ranji Trophy this season so far) gets a look in for the last two games. We do need to rotate and rest players – a fact the selectors hopefully won’t ignore.