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
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
TVSPOILER ALERT: It's all coming together as series returns to form
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
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

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine