England hold nerve to deny thrilling Jadeja

India 234-7 England 218-7 (England win by three wickets (D/L)

The Oval

So it goes on. England defeated India once more last night to go 2-0 up in a one-day series they now cannot lose. It was narrow, it was rain-affected, it might have gone the other way but as so often before this summer it did not.

Click HERE for graphic: Oval Scoreboard (215.98kB)

The margin on this occasion – England's seventh victory without reply against these opponents – was three wickets with seven balls to spare. England almost contrived to make a mess of it, but even their messes these days have happy endings as they chased down a reduced target of 218.

India made 234 for 7, which was about twice as many as seemed probable at 58 for 5. It demonstrated that although they might be carrying around a towel, just in case, they are not yet throwing it in.

England took advantage of a green pitch which was entirely suited to their seamers, making hay while the grass grows. The thought occurred as Indian wickets tumbled at the start of the match – decisively as it turned out –that retribution in the return series in India next month could be profound. The tourists then should not expect any surface to offer pace or movement.

At times last night, The Oval felt as though it was Eden Gardens, Kolkata as Indian fans, not remotely discouraged by two months of failure, roared their heroes on. There was none greater than Ravi Jadeja, the man of the match. For two months, India have struggled to adjust to conditions in England and failed. It took Jadeja about two minutes and it averted complete disaster.

His defiant inaugural innings of the tour, the day after stepping off a plane from the subcontinent, ensured that the tourists attained respectability, not familiar territory recently. He followed his 78 from 89 balls with 2 for 42 from nine overs, never allowing his opponents to be at ease against his left-arm spin. Maybe a fresh face unencumbered by the baggage of two losing months is what India needed.

Four previous matches under lights at The Oval had been won by the side batting first, which might have made Alastair Cook's decision to bowl seem bold. The colour of the surface on which the coin landed was a pretty persuasive factor and for the seventh time of the nine occasions he has won the toss he put in the opposition.

It took four balls to suggest that he might be right and Jimmy Anderson, lethal in these circumstances, scythed through the top order. India were hapless against the seaming ball and their apprehension meant that when it did not move they were still in trouble.

If they were not beaten, they hung out their bats or flailed desperately. Both Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, in whom resides the future of India's middle order, were culpable. The saddest dismissal was that of Rahul Dravid, run out, though it would be wrong to report that it was while attempting a quick single.

It would have been had Dravid started off with more urgency, avoided glancing back at the fielder, Anderson, and dived for the line as the throw came in. It was one-day batting from a bygone age.

Jadeja composed an innings of diligent maturity, sharing a partnership of 112 with his captain MS Dhoni, who never rose above circumspect. It was a record for the sixth wicket in an ODI at The Oval, a small record perhaps but the minimum required in the circumstances.

England set off at the gallop but the innings stalled with the advent of spin into the attack, odd when it was seam that had done the damage earlier. After Cook and Craig Kieswetter gave them a racing start nobody settled. The rain delay altered their target after which Ian Bell was daftly run out, proposing a single that was never on and turning back too late.

Ben Stokes, at 20, was exposed to international pressure for the first time. He looked edgy but he also hit a highly confident six over long on. Ravi Bopara and Tim Bresnan appeared as though they would see England home but provided India with belated hope by getting out. It was as if, in the end, they were just kidding.

*Whatever England's grip on India at present, their plans for the one-day tour of the country were severely disturbed last night. Eoin Morgan will need surgery on a right shoulder injury which will prevent him playing for 12 weeks. It means that any suggestion of overlooking Kevin Pietersen for the trip to India next month, where England play five one-day internationals, can be forgotten unless the selectors are prepared to take a risk they will regret. Pietersen's improvised hitting in the middle order will be as needed as ever.

Suggested Topics
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
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
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'