2nd ODI: England vs India at Delhi
Oct 17, 2011 (14:30 local | 9:00 GMT | 2:30 PM IST)
It was touted as the revenge series or as the official broadcasters' tag-line suggested - the 'Payback Series', before the 5 match ODI series started. India have taken the first step towards making the tag-line come true by thumping the visitors in an one-sided game at Hyderabad. One win though doesn't make a summer and MSD and Co. will surely be aware of the fact. But the manner in which the Indian team beat the English, it sure has raised a lot of doubts about the ability of the opposition to play quality spin.
India: India at home are a different side altogether and that's what we saw at Hyderabad. The wicket was on the slower side to begin with and the batsmen at the top bided their time, before MS Dhoni and Raina accelerated superbly. MS Dhoni is one of the best batsmen in ODIs and he proved it again with an innings that started off slowly, but reached top gear towards the end. His power hitting ensured that India had sufficient runs in the bank, when at one stage it looked like they would struggle to reach a total beyond 260. Once the runs were up on the board, it was left to the spinners to weave their magic and they performed as expected to subject England to their 2nd heaviest defeat against India.
India's batting may not have the likes of Tendulkar, Sehwag and Yuvraj, but it still looks a formidable one especially in home conditions. If the openers fire, then scores of well over 300 could be expected in the remaining games. Even the bowling which was found wanting so badly in England, came to the party with the all the three seamers producing a consistent performance. It was heartening to see UmeshYadav hit speeds of above 140 km/h on a regular basis and the two wickets he scalped would've surely boosted his confidence no end.
The re-emergence of RavindraJadeja as an all-rounder of substance has been the single biggest gain for India from the 1st ODI. Not only does he look an improved player, but his confidence with the bat is filtering into his bowling and fielding as well. If Jadeja can replicate his Hyderabad performance time and again, then India's wish for that elusive all-rounder at No. 7 would be fulfilled. Praveen Kumar was fantastic with the new ball and his spell with Vinay Kumar where they frustrated Pietersen by denying him the boundaries, ultimately created the run-out opportunity for Ashwin. India look hungry for revenge and look a better side than England in home conditions.
England: The enormity of the loss might just be sinking in for the English, but it was the tame manner in which they capitulated that should worry them more. It wasn't exceptional spin bowling or a rank bad pitch that caused the down-fall, but some poor strokes under pressure that created it. Trott, Bopara and Bairstow all fell to soft dismissals and from then on, it was just a matter of time before the game was sewn up by India. At one stage England were 111/2 with Cook anchoring the innings well, before his dismissal opened the flood-gates. The inability of the middle and the lower order to offer any sort of resistance is a worrying sign for Flower, especially with the remaining games expected to produce pitches on the slower side.
Ian Bell, who has been one of their best batsmen in recent times, was surprisingly omitted in favor of a red-hot Bairstow, who flopped. Bell is perhaps England's best player of spin as well and the team management must have surely realised their folly after the first ODI in dropping him. Calls for his comeback into the side, would have surely grown and it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring him back to beef up the middle order. Kieswetter is another worry for the English for he doesn't look like he can get away with his attacking game on pitches like the one that will be produced here. He needs to play himself in before trying anything fancy.
The English spinners were very good, with Swann being outstanding and did well in containing the Indians till the 35th over until the batting power-play started the deluge of runs. The bowling at the death apart from Bresnan was found wanting with both Finn and Dernbach unable to bowl the yorkers on demand. If England are to compete in the series, then they have to restrict India to totals which they can hope to chase down.