Friday 24 August 2007 

Nine-Run Win For India As England Take It To The Wire

India 329 for 7 (Tendulkar 99, Dravid 92, Flintoff 5-56)
England 320-8 (Bell 64, Mascarenhas 52, Chawla 3-60)
India won by nine runs - seven match NatWest series level at 1-1

Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid both hit half-centuries as India posted 329 for 7, Piyush Chawla picked up the key wickets of Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, and Ian Bell before India survived a last-gasp blistering assault from Dimitri Mascarenhas and Stuart Broad to level the NatWest Series 1-1 with a nine-run victory over England in Bristol.

Dimitri Mascarenhas struck five sixes and a four in an extraordinary knock, his maiden international fifty, having come in with England seemingly down and out. His innings gave them renewed hope, but when he was caught out in the penultimate over for 52 from 39 balls, India breathed again. Stuart Broad had them worried again when he hit two sixes, and a four from the final over but India had just enough in hand, England closing on 320 for 8.

Broad finished unbeaten on 29 from 24 balls.

Chawla's bowling performance had looked to have done enough for India, before England's late order fireworks, coupled with a below par fielding display, threatened to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat.

Pietersen was dropped twice in an over before being bowled by Chawla and he then repeated the trick to dismiss captain Paul Collingwood before Bell gave England hope with 64 from 96 balls before becoming Chawla's third victim.

Having lost free-scoring openers Alastair Cook (36) and Matt Prior (33), both to catches off the bowling of Munaf Patel, Pietersen and Bell were keeping up with the required rate when the medium pace of Saurav Ganguly caused Pietersen to offer two chances in one over. An edge to wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was spilled before Ganguly shelled a return chance.

Pietersen immediately struck Agit Agarkar for two fours in the subsequent over, eager to make India pay for those misses. Then, Chawla's second ball beat his defences, and it was third time lucky for India. Pietersen had made 25 from 25 balls and there was to be no repeat of his heroics at the same ground where, in 2005, he scored an unbeaten 91 to help England beat Australia.

Collingwood was deceived by Chawla's googly after he had helped Bell add 42 in quick time, his contribution being 27 from 25 balls. Andrew Flintoff scored a breezy 9 from 7 balls before miscuing a big hit straight to Agit Agarkar. Ravi Bopara briefly supported Bell before he was trapped in front by the returning Munaf for 17. Bell then fell attempting to hit Chawla over the top - he succeeded only in picking out Munaf at long-on. With the wicket went England's chances, but for a short while, Mascarenhas and Broad wouldn't believe it.

Earlier, India posted 329 for 7 after Tendulkar was given out for 99, whilst man of the match Dravid remained unbeaten on 92 as England's bowlers suffered at the hands of an Indian side keen to avenge the loss in the first match at The Rose Bowl.

Tendulkar shared in an opening partnership worth 113 with Ganguly before Ganguly fell for 39, caught by Collingwood to give Flintoff his first wicket. He was given out one short of a century, adjudged caught by Prior off of the same bowler although he looked far from happy with the decision.

Yuvraj Singh missed out on his half-century, dismissed for 49, caught by Collingwood with Broad the bowler before Dravid completed his eightieth one-day international half-century as India accelerated past the 300 mark with only 25 balls needed to move from 250 to 300 before Dhoni fell to Broad for 21 from 18 balls.

Wickets fell as the acceleration continued, with Flintoff ending with five for 56 with Dravid's 92 coming from 64 balls.

Tendulkar, on the ground where he has scored two centuries in two one-day internationals played, was in brilliant touch, hitting fifteen fours and one six, with Tremlett coming in for much of his punishment - his second ball was despatched through cover by Tendulkar dancing down the track.

In the two overs after the drinks break, 31 runs were conceded as Flintoff and Tremlett were pummelled with Ganguly striking Tremlett for a huge straight six shortly after Tendulkar had registered his 80th one-day international half-century with a four off of Flintoff.

Until then, the Lancashire all-rounder, brought on at first change, had stemmed the flow of runs although Tremlett, preferred to spinner Monty Panesar, was expensive after opening pair James Anderson and Broad were unable to find a breakthrough.

India won the toss and chose to bat having replaced Gautam Gambhir with all-rounder Ramesh Powar while Zaheer Khan failed to recover from the flu and Munaf Patel came into the side.

England won the first of seven matches by 104 runs at The Rose Bowl.

England: Alastair Cook, Matt Prior (wk), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood (c), Andrew Flintoff, Ravi Bopara, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Stuart Broad, Chris Tremlett, James Anderson

India: Saurav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Rahul Dravid (c), Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Ramesh Powar, Agit Agarkar, Piyush Chawla, RP Singh, Munaf Patel

John Pennington
© Cricket World 2007


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