England vs India second ODI match report: Dismal England made to pay by India

England beaten by 133 runs and now trail series 1-0

Swalec Stadium

Graeme Swann had a point. While it has not made him popular with his former team-mates, this match provided persuasive support for his assessment that England do not have “a cat in hell’s chance” of winning next year’s World Cup.

England were facing a core of Indian players left broken and bruised by the recent Test series. They gave a one-day debut to Alex Hales who will, if you believe his supporters, score at least 200 every time he walks to the wicket while also playing the ukulele blindfolded between deliveries.

James Anderson was bowling in ideal conditions and the stage was set for Alastair Cook’s team to crush India, the reigning world champions, and take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. Somehow, they managed to lose by 133 runs.

Chasing a revised target of 295 from 47 overs due to a brief shower after India had made 304 for six from their 50, England were dismissed for 161, occupying just 38.1 overs.

In 50-over cricket, England rarely manage to get everything right. If they start well, they fall away. If they play impressively towards the end of an innings, it is often a vain attempt to recover from a poor beginning. Just when the opposition are faltering, one of their players will revive them, or England will give them a helping hand.

Hales, who has played some supreme innings in Twenty20 cricket, was picked to attack. Instead, the assault was carried out by another man whose technique in international cricket has been questioned – Suresh Raina.

Raina was tormented by England during the 2011 Test series, yet here, in front of boisterous Indian support, he took revenge with a dazzling, devastating knock of exactly 100, compiled from 75 deliveries.

Raina would have been given out lbw to James Tredwell for 17 had the Decision Review System been in use, yet thereafter there were too many spectacular strokes to mention, and the 38th over summed up his effort neatly.

He took the otherwise commendable Chris Woakes for 19 runs, striking two sixes and a pair of fours from the five deliveries he faced. In the batting power play, Raina made 41 from 15 deliveries.

Raina’s work was complemented by fifties for Rohit Sharma and captain MS Dhoni, and a breezy 41 from Ajinkya Rahane. To think that India were 19 for two at one stage, and made only 26 runs in the first 10 overs.

With the two white balls moving through the air, Woakes and Anderson had control during the early overs but it was grim stuff after that. Chris Jordan lost his line and bowled 12 of the team’s 16 wides, conceding 73 runs from his 10 overs. Ben Stokes lacked confidence and control.

Even Anderson faded, and the best bowling performance, besides Woakes’s four for 52, belonged to Tredwell. Understated and consistent, the off-spinner worked intelligently and was rewarded with the wickets of Rahane and Rohit.

Would Hales be able to follow Raina? He and Cook started well, posting a half-century stand that included five crisp boundaries from Hales. Then, Mohammed Shami removed Cook lbw and, three balls later, Ian Bell shouldered arms to a straight arrow from the same opponent and was bowled off stump.

Suddenly, England were 56 for two and life never improved. They added only 25 runs in the next 10 overs, losing Joe Root in the process. Hales had given a decent impression but failed to make important progress. Increasingly frustrated, he attempted to sweep Ravi Jadeja, top-edged and was caught at short fine leg. “Alex played really well,” said Cook. “He will know that innings of 40 do not win you games but he batted in exactly the same way as I’ve seen him bat for  Nottinghamshire.

“He didn’t feel he needed to change his game which is a very encouraging sign. He strikes a clean ball and can win games for us.”

Hales had made only 10 from his last 34 deliveries and once he was out, the story was written as England’s vulnerabilities against slow bowling were exposed again.

Neither Eoin Morgan nor Jos Buttler could solve the riddle posed by Jadeja’s slow left-arm or the off-breaks of R Ashwin, and the duo shared six wickets. With Raina also removing Jordan for a duck, it meant seven wickets had fallen to spin.

By contrast from the Test series, India’s fielding was excellent, defined by a brilliantly judged catch from Rahane on the deep midwicket boundary to remove Stokes, who had tried to hit Jadeja for six.

“In recent series, whenever the ball has turned, England find it slightly difficult to score off Jadeja,” said Dhoni. They need to find a plan quickly. The next instalment of this series takes place at Trent Bridge on Saturday and India will fancy their chances of moving 2-0 up with two to play.

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