India thrash England to take ODI series lead

David Clough 27/08/2014
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Star man: Suresh Raina's century was superb, leading his side to a great total.

England descended to a miserable 133-run defeat against India in Cardiff to concede a 1-0 Royal London Series lead.

Alastair Cook's team paid for a patchy performance with the ball as Suresh Raina hit a brutal century in India's 304 for six in this second match of five after Monday's washout in Bristol.

Then England mustered only an insipid 161 all out in 38.1 overs, after a rain break between innings left a revised target of 295 in 47.

Debutant Alex Hales and Cook raised hopes in an opening stand of 54 – but once first-change Mohammad Shami struck twice in four balls, the hosts had no answer on a pitch with decent carry but in cloudy conditions which made batting far from easy throughout.

India's efforts, after Cook put them in, appeared above par – thanks chiefly to Raina (100) but also half-centuries from Rohit Sharma (52) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (52) – and England's batsmen duly confirmed that impression.

Cook went across his stumps and was lbw; then Ian Bell, in his new position at number three to accommodate Hales' promotion, left one alone only to see the ball clatter into his off-stump. Joe Root could not get started, an old foible perhaps revisited – arguably back when he might have been forward – as Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled him with a good delivery that nipped between bat and pad.

As others around Hales departed, his debut innings at this level faltered – and he had made the last 10 of his 40 in singles from 30 balls when he mis-swept Ravindra Jadeja (four for 28) to short fine-leg. England were fast running out of feasible options to mount a challenge, all the more so when Jos Buttler poked a catch to cover off Jadeja – and Eoin Morgan could only limit embarrassment, and help to avoid any record margin of defeat, rather than threaten a telling resurgence.

Rohit had helped India recover from a sticky start of their own, and then Raina took over in a fifth-wicket stand of 144 with Dhoni. By the time he holed out in the deep off Chris Woakes, having hit 12 fours and three sixes from 75 balls in his fourth one-day international hundred, early expectations that England might heavily restrict India were shot to bits.

Woakes endured the extremes of 50-over cricket, taking two wickets in four balls in a new-ball spell of 5-1-8-2 yet eventually finishing with four for 52. The change bowling was very flaky from Ben Stokes and Chris Jordan, who was unable to hold the line required with no off-side cover behind the ring in batting powerplay and ended up responsible for 12 of England's 16 wides.

Woakes' two early victims, Shikhar Dhawan and then Virat Kohli for a duck, were reward for his and James Anderson's accuracy as India stumbled to 26 for two after 10 overs. Dhawan edged an attempted drive behind, and Woakes doubled up to extend Kohli's wretched tour when he crunched a head-high catch straight to mid-off. India were badly in need of some top-order substance, and Rohit and Ajinkya Rahane provided it – putting on 69 between overs 10 and 20 in a low-risk stand of 91.

After Rahane went, foot planted on the crease but not behind and therefore stumped after a third-umpire consultation off James Tredwell, Rohit passed his 82-ball 50. The opener's innings concluded in an anti-climax it appeared India could ill-afford when he sliced his attempt to hit Tredwell for a straight six instead to long off. But it turned out Rohit's earnest contribution was merely prelude to the Raina show.

The left-hander was absent, surplus to requirements while India were descending to a 3-1 Test series defeat this summer. Limited-overs are his forte, though, and he proved so at the first attempt – albeit with one significant moment of fortune when Tredwell might easily have had him lbw sweeping.

Hawkeye suggested a track straight towards middle-and-leg, but Paul Reiffel provided the reprieve on 17, and Raina barely put another foot wrong.

He and Dhoni plundered 62 in powerplay – including one Woakes over which cost 20, with two Raina sixes, and another containing 11 deliveries because of five wides from the errant Jordan. The last 10 overs then cost another 86 runs.

Much damage was therefore done already to home hopes, but England's response with the bat was hugely disappointing nonetheless.

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Root defends captain Cook to lead England in ODI series

David Clough 27/08/2014
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Standing by his captain: Root (l) said Cook can form an effective partnership with Alex Hales in one-dayers.

England are confident they have the right captain, and right meth­ods, to take on India in the ODI series and on the journey to next winter’s World Cup.

Joe Root spoke defiantly on the eve of the second one-day inter­national in Cardiff in support of Alastair Cook, after former play­ers Graeme Swann and Michael Vaughan questioned the captain’s 50-over credentials.

Swann and Vaughan have been outspoken in their critique of Cook, reasoning his high-70s strike rate at the top of the order will not help England win their first World Cup at the 11th attempt.

Root’s own strike rate is also mar­ginally sub-80, comparable with Cook’s and also Ian Bell’s .

But the Yorkshireman is having none of Vaughan and Swann’s the­sis that England, even after recruit­ing Alex Hales as a new ‘master blaster’ opening partner for Cook, are woefully short of the firepower.

“We’ve got guys like (Eoin) Mor­gan and (Jos) Buttler down the order who, as you’ve seen, can win games on their own,” said Root.

“We’re in a good place, and this series will be a good judge of that.”

Cook, who proved Vaughan and many others wrong by turning round England’s Test summer, un­surprisingly has Root’s unequivocal support as his team embark on an almost uninterrupted programme of 50-over cricket until the end of the World Cup in New Zealand and Australia next March.

He added: “He’s our leader in one-day cricket as well as Tests; he’s done well over a number of years, and we all back him.

“He’s a fantastic player and has got all of our support.”

Root believes the Cook and Hales contrast may be just what England need to set a winning tone, adding: “His style complements players like Alex Hales, and we hope that can be shown in this series.

“We’re all really excited and want to show what we can do as a one-day outfit.”

England will begin with a clean slate at the SWALEC Stadium to­day, in a series effectively reduced to four matches after the first fix­ture was washed out in Bristol.

Root has no doubt they will be well-served by a batting line-up for all occasions and conditions, given that many of them have Test expe­rience.

“Alex is an explosive player and we’re all looking forward to seeing him do stuff,” added Root.

“I think guys have been picked because they’re very capable of making big scores in one-day series.

“I don’t think there’s much of a problem with the batting.” 

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Bristol washout denies England’s Hales storm

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No play: Overnight rain continued throughout the day, putting to bed the first ODI without a ball being bowled.

Bad weather put England batsman Alex Hales' one-day international debut on hold as rain washed out the series opener with India at Bristol on Monday without a ball being bowled.

Hosts England were due to play world champions India in the first of a five-match series at the south-west ground but persistent overnight and early morning rain prevented play starting as scheduled at 10:30am local time (13:30 GST). The latest a 20 overs per side match – the minimum length required to declare a result – could have started was 18:47 GST, but with the rain showing no sign of stopping, the umpires announced the match had ended in a no-result washout.

Hard-hitting Nottinghamshire opener Hales has appeared in 32 Twenty20s for England and scored his country's first century in cricket's shortest format against when he made 116 not out from 64 balls against Sri Lanka at the World Twenty20 in March. The 25-year, due to partner England captain Alastair Cook at the top of the order, has been tipped as the man to revive the team's often staid approach with the bat in the opening overs of a one-day game.

India, the 50-over world champions, were looking to bounce back following their 3-1 defeat in the preceding Test series, a campaign that ended with England winning the final two matches by an innings.

Last year, India beat England in the final of the 50-over Champions Trophy at Edgbaston, although rain reduced that match to a 20 overs per side contest. This year's five-match contest marks the start of both teams lead-in to next year's one-day World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

India have now put former all-rounder Ravi Shastri in "overall charge" of the side, with coach Duncan Fletcher, the former England boss, retaining his position despite being criticised following the Test series defeat.

The series continues with Wednesday's second one-day international in Cardiff.

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