England battle in daunting run chase

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The Independent Online

England recovered from the early loss of Ian Bell to launch a solid start to their reply in today's second one-day international as they attempted to chase down another daunting India total.

Chasing India's commanding score of 292 for nine, England suffered a nightmare start with Ian Bell running himself out taking a quick single off the sixth ball of the innings.

But Matt Prior and Owais Shah steadied the innings with an unbroken half-century stand to help the tourists reach 72 for one after 15 overs as they searched for the victory which would level the series.

The tourists, desperate to atone for Friday's humiliating 158-run defeat in Rajkot in the opener to the seven-match series, made a bright start with Stuart Broad claiming three for 14 from his five-over new ball spell to leave India reeling on 29 for three.

Just three days after Yuvraj Singh delivered a devastating unbeaten 138 off 78 balls, he repeated the feat by hitting 118 off 122 balls to help India post another major total on a slow-looking wicket with uneven bounce.

Yuvraj was more composed than Friday's performance and hit 15 fours and two sixes, sharing an impressive 134-run stand with opener Gautam Gambhir which guided India out of trouble just as England seemed set to bounce back strongly into the series.

The pair paced their stand brilliantly, reaching their half-century partnership off just 61 balls and bringing up the hundred partnership off 105 balls to leave England scratching around for answers.

They were finally parted when Gambhir played on to Kevin Pietersen's off-spin after hitting a superb to reach 70 off 76 balls, leaving Yuvraj to complete back-to-back centuries.

Yuvraj became Broad's fourth victim when he edged behind with six overs remaining, but all-rounder Yusuf Pathan demonstrated his attacking strokeplay to help India add 82 off the final 10 overs.

Pathan hit two fours and four sixes in his unbeaten half-century off only 29 balls, including hitting Steve Harmison for 17 in the final over of the innings.

Facing such a massive total, particularly on a slow pitch, England needed a good start but were instead undermined in the first over when Bell was run out from cover by Suresh Raina attempting a quick single.

But after being initially restricted by the accuracy of Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel with the new ball, Prior and Shah began to look more comfortable at the crease.

Prior was twice fortunate to survive, firstly edging left-arm seamer RP Singh just wide of wicketkeeper MS Dhoni on 15 and then was dropped off the same bowler on 28 by Yuvraj at point.

He remained intact, however, and brought up the half-century partnership with Shah off 66 balls to establish a platform for England to launch an unexpcted victory bid.

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