Wednesday 5 September 2007 

India Level Series After Tendulkar And Uthappa Heroics

England 316 for 6 (Shah 107 no, Pietersen 53, Wright 50)
India 317 for 8 (Tendulkar 94, Ganguly 53) at The Brit Oval
India won by two wickets and level the series 3-3 with one to play

Sachin Tendulkar hit 94 and Robin Uthappa a nerveless 47 at the death as India pulled off a brilliant two-wicket win in the sixth one-day international against England at The Brit Oval, in the process levelling the seven-match series at 3-3.

Uthappa scored his 47 from 33 balls, with eight fours, adding 60 in seven overs with Mahendra Singh Dhoni (35) to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with the winning runs coming with two balls to spare. Ten runs were required from the final over, but despite the run out of Zaheer Khan, Uthappa hit Stuart Broad for consecutive fours to seal the match in fine style.

Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly added 150 for the first wicket as India chased down a ground-record 317 to win, although before Uthappa's late assault, England looked to have pegged India back with regular wickets.

Ganguly was the first to go, caught by Kevin Pietersen, bowled Stuart Broad for 53. Six runs later, Tendulkar, cramping up badly, was caught by Paul Collingwood, Monty Panesar the bowler for a brilliant 94 from 81 balls. Yuvraj Singh hit a swift 18 before Dimitri Mascarenhas had him caught and bowled, Owais Shah claimed Rahul Dravid as his first international wicket, and Mascarenhas dismissed Gautam Gambhir, caught by Panesar for 47 as England fought back after being pummelled by the opening pair.

Tendulkar launched into James Anderson, hitting him for three fours in a row as the partnership came up off of just 48 balls with Tendulkar the dominant partner.

Earlier, a maiden one-day international century from Owais Shah, a half-century from Luke Wright on debut, and five sixes in five balls from Mascarenhas helped England recover from a tricky position to post what looked like a series-winning total.

Shah reached his landmark with a straight-driven four off of Tendulkar in the penultimate over, to become the third English batsmen to score a century for the first time in the series. His innings included 11 fours and 2 sixes, as he shared in partnerships of 73 with Dimitri Mascarenhas (36 not out from 15 balls) and 106 with Wright.

Wright's first scoring shots in international cricket were four, six, and two off of Yuvraj Singh, with five more fours coming as he and Shah did exactly what England needed - accelerated without losing wickets.

Mascarenhas enjoyed his return to the side, hitting Yuvraj Singh for five sixes from the last five balls of the innings in an extraordinary display of powerful hitting. Slightly fortuitous when one of the maximums was caught by Piyush Chawla before he stepped over the rope, there can be no complaints about the others as Mascarenhas played an innings that may have booked his seat on the plane to South Africa as Ravi Bopara's replacement for the Twenty20 World Cup.

Shah, who faced 95 balls in total, moved to his fifty in an over in which Ganguly conceded fifteen runs. Wright followed him, reaching his landmark from 38 balls in the 44th over, before becoming the third English batsmen to be run out in the innings without adding to his score.

Pietersen had also registered his first half-century of the series, shortly before being run out himself, at which point, with England on 137 for 5, India were unquestionably on top, before Wright and Shah combined to turn the match back in England's favour.

Both England openers fell cheaply, before Chawla took the prize wicket of Ian Bell for 49 Bell had looked in supreme touch, hitting ten fours before he was bowled attempting a slog-sweep, having added 59 with Pietersen, who went on to score 53 before attempting a second run which was turned down by Shah, leaving him stranded.

Cook edged Zaheer Khan's second ball of the match to wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni before Bell hit the next, his first, through extra cover to get off the mark in style. Two more followed in quick succession but unfortunately for England, Matt Prior was unable to keep up with Bell, falling leg before to Agarkar for five before Bell was joined by Pietersen, and together they scored at a good rate and looked to be playing England out of trouble before Bell's decision to take on one shot too many.

Collingwood was then run out for 1 with the umpires deciding not to refer the decision upstairs, until they had viewed the incident again on the big screen, which was providing spectators with a replay. An unhappy Collingwood had to go - the right decision had been made, but the way in which the umpires got there was unusual, to say the least.

Leading the series 3-2, England handed Luke Wright his one-day international debut shortly before Paul Collingwood won the toss and chose to bat.

Wright took the place of the injured Bopara, Andrew Flintoff failed to pass a fitness test, and Mascarenhas replaced Jon Lewis. India chose to replace Dinesh Karthik with Uthappa, needing to win both games to win the NatWest Series.

England: Alastair Cook, Matt Prior (wk), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood (c), Owais Shah, Luke Wright, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Monty Panesar

India: Saurav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Robin Uthappa, Rahul Dravid (c), Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Ajit Agarkar, Romesh Powar, Piyush Chawla, Zaheer Khan

© Cricket World 2007