India Hand England Crushing Defeat To Strike First Blow
India 300-7 (Dhoni 87no, Raina 61) beat
England 174 (Cook 60, Jadeja 3-26) by 126 runs
First One-Day International, Hyderabad
India thrashed England by 126 runs in the opening One-Day International in Hyderabad thanks to a belligerent half-century from Mahendra Singh Dhoni and effective spin bowling.
Dhoni was unbeaten on 87 as India piled up 300 for seven from their 50 overs, overcoming a slightly shaky start but they powered to vitory by bowling England out for 174 in reply.
Spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin took three wickets apiece as England's middle order failed to deal with a trial by slow bowling, sending England spiralling to their eighth-biggest defeat by runs as they made a terrible start to the five-match series.
For India, this was their first win over England since 2008 and they ended a long wait with a comprehensive performance.
They first won the toss but should have been one down very early when Jonathan Trott dropped Ajinkya Rahane before he had scored off the bowling of Steven Finn.
Partiv Patel (9) was then run out when Rahane's straight drive was deflected onto the stumps by Finn and Rahane fell when he charged down the track to Graeme Swann and was easily stumped by Craig Kieswetter as Swann struck in his first over once again.
Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli both looked in fluent touch in making 32 and 37 before Gambhir was trapped in front by a Jade Dernbach full toss and Kohli lofted Patel to Kevin Pietersen in the deep.
However, having worked hard to reduce India to 123 for four things then started to unravel for England and work out well for India.
Suresh Raina and Dhoni combined to add 72 for the fifth wicket with Raina making an attractive 61 in 55 balls and Dhoni began to accelerate, England not helping themselves with some poor fielding - Pietersen and Kieswetter not living up to their own high standards in particular.
Raina was caught by Jonathan Bairstow off Finn before Dhoni dominated a 65-run partnership with Jadeja, who hit Patel for a couple of huge straight sixes en route to 27 in 22 balls.
He was run out by a direct hit from Tim Bresnan but nothing was going to check Dhoni's progress, and he struck ten fours and one six in a typically explosive and well-constructed innings - his 64th ODI half-century.
England also began poorly, losing Kieswetter (7) to a catch at the wicket and Pietersen to a run out by Ashwin for 19 but they, unlike India, were unable to recover.
Alastair Cook stood firm and batted nicely to make 60 in 63 with seven fours but he played a lone hand and his dismissal in the 23rd over was the catalyst for India to take four wickets for the cost of just 17 runs that ripped the life out of both England and the contest.
Cook was caught by Ranganath Vinay Kumar as he tried to force the pace as Jadeja picked up his first wicket, Trott (26) completed a miserable day when he was bowled by the same bowler attempting a huge shot over midwicket while Ravi Bopara (8) and Bairstow (3) were caught and bowled - near-identical dismissals - by Ashwin and Jadeja respectively.
Ashwin grabbed his second wicket when Bresnan was stumped for four and it was he who ended the match definitively when Dernbach was bowled for two.
Umesh Yadav weighed in with a haul of two for 32 when he bowled Swann for eight and Patel for 16 as England crumbled; a a sight far removed from the team that beat India 3-0 in the home series earlier this year.
Ashwin took three for 35 and Jadeja three for 34. The first of four remaining matches is on 17th October in Delhi.
© Cricket World 2011