India levelled the One Day series yesterday in a magnificent encounter that saw some extraordinary power hitting in a day dominated by the bat. This is the sort of match that cricket haters should be made to watch and then attached to a lie dectector afterwards when asked if they enjoyed it or not. From the second ball of the day which Cook edged to Dhoni, to the third last ball which went to the boundary for victory to India, there was no knowing who would win the match.
From an Indian perspective there was much to be happy about Dinesh Khartik’s replacement, Robin Uthappa, played a superb, if sometimes fortunate innings to close out the game. Zaheer Khan put down further evidence of why he is probably bowler of the tour on either side, and the wonderful Tendulkar and Ganguly set up the victory with an opening stand of 150 scored at almost seven an over.
From the England perspective, the future is surely bright. Luke Wright’s fearless 50 got us back on track. Shah’s maiden ODI century was a joy and Mascarenas’ five consecutive sixes off the last five balls of the innings were breathtaking. But, and there are still big buts. I worry about Kevin Pietersen. He is a great batsman and looked as though he was returning to form with his 50 but he seems to lose concentration and focus at critical moments. For me he was responsible for both Collingwood’s and his own run outs. Bad calls or ignoring calls, neither is pretty. And in the field, he cost us eight runs. Once with a lazy dive early on, which got ganguly going and later, letting a ball through his body at long on. In a close match, this is very costly.
Any of you who’ve read the previous entry know I went on about Indians chirping and abusing English batsmen. Well, tables turned this time. And the lesson today is, pick your target carefully. Chris Broad is a fine young player, a very promising bowler who could well turn into a genuine all-rounder. But yesterday, he chose to have a go at Suarav Ganguly in the midst of the Indian opener flaying the ball to all parts. This is dim. Not only will it cost him some of his match fee but it got Ganguly going, if he wasn’t already. What Broad needed to take into account was that Ganguly has scored over 10,000 (count them) one day runs and is an exceptional batsman. So, after their exchange, Ganguly slapped a few more fours just to show Broad what he can do. Again, tight game, very expensive error if you ask me. So, Chris, when you’re a bit miffed, make sure you pick on the guy on debut, not one of the more experienced of world ODI players.
I’m loving this series. Lords for the decider on Saturday and surely a must watch match. Never mind the football at 5pm. A bad time to change channels, what with the climax of the cricket at around that time. And anyway, we already know what happens in the first half at Wembley. Bright start by England, frustration sets in after 20 mins. 0-0 after 45 mins. Ray Wilkins on as second half substitute to pas the ball square. There you go.