England given reminder life in India is far from easy

India 300-7 England 174 (India win by 126 runs)

Rajiv Gandhi Stadium

If there was any tiny doubt about how difficult it is to win in India it might just have been erased here in Hyderabad yesterday. If there existed any remote suspicion that England were about to sweep all before them, that, too, was disdainfully removed.

It was instead a reprise of the old story, or at least of the story as it goes back almost a decade. India defeated England by 126 runs in the first of five matches in the one-day series. Of the last 14 matches between the sides in this country, England have won one.

So severe and unexpected was this reversal that the tourists will do well to regroup for the second match in Delhi on Monday. This was not, hardly surprisingly, the view of England's captain, Alastair Cook.

"We were outplayed in all three departments," he said. "We gave them 30 or 40 runs too many but the good things about the games coming close together as they do is that we can react quickly. We're disappointed but it's about the character we show next and we're still a close unit."

Although England were not suckered into thinking that India were about to roll over and have their tummies tickled after their experiences abroad in the summer, Cook had pronounced that his men were ready for the challenge.

The margin of defeat, England's second largest to India, would suggest that they were as ill-equipped and unready as Butch and Sundance dashing out to meet the Bolivian army. All seemed to be going well for England, despite some dozy work in the outfield, as India stuttered their way to 150 for 4 after 35 overs.

Afterwards it could not have gone worse. In the last 15 overs, India exactly doubled their score and 300 on a slow pitch was not a realistic target. The match hinged almost entirely on a commanding innings from India's captain, MS Dhoni.

It was vital for his side's well-being that he scored runs yesterday. There had been disappointments of late and they had won none of their 10 international assignments in England. Dhoni, in at 123 for 4 with the chips down, was so unruffled that he might as well have conducted proceedings wearing a dinner jacket.

His placement was precise, he ran his singles thunderously which was matched by the ferocity of his boundaries. Eschewing all pretence, as ever, at replicating an orthodox method, he drilled his boundaries, all 11 of them, 10 fours and a six, in his unbeaten 87 from 70 balls.

The speed of the bat helps but it is the strength of his wrists which makes his strokes what they are. England did not seem to do much wrong in the latter stages of India's innings, although nor did they do as much right as they had in the earlier ones.

Having picked up the pace in the batting powerplay which they took at the last legitimate moment, India then continued their acceleration. This provided evidence that the requirement to take the batting powerplay by the 36th over – when only three players can be outside the fielding circle – means that if it goes well the momentum may well continue.

England bowled too many wides, 14, all of their pace trio being guilty, which suggest that their practice has not gone as well as they say. But Dhoni dares you to bowl wide of him because he can whip anything in his arc on the leg side or crash it on the off. This was his fourth successive ODI fifty and the last three all scored at more than a run a ball.

For a while it looked as if Cook would reply in kind. The doubters must by now be spread to all parts, though Cook is not yet quite hitting the ball in that many directions. Still, he looked in control as he went along at a run a ball to his fifty. Unfortunately, he lost Craig Kieswetter, edging to the keeper, and Kevin Pietersen, running an extremely risky single.

When Cook and Jonathan Trott were dismissed in quick fashion, that was that. England simply folded to the point of embarrassment. They had it all their own way on home turf. Surprising though it was, it was just possible to discern the boot being transferred to the other foot.

* Sky Sports' commentators were unable to provide coverage of the ODI due to a blackout caused by a breakdown in talks between rights-holding production company Nimbus and the BCCI.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food