Ganguly ends the winner of a very personal duel

This was the tale of two captains. Nasser Hussain and Sourav Ganguly have plenty in common. Ganguly has been short of runs in England, Hussain is under fire for continuing to bat at No 3 in the one-day side. Both are good captains, but with a dismissive arrogance, a quality which may serve well enough when things are going well, but when you are on the receiving end it can be counter-productive.

The sides had won a qualifying match each with one spoiled by rain. Now, Hussain must have thought the day was his. He won the toss, saw England score 325 for 5 and registered his first one-day international hundred – which he celebrated with a petulant and childish gesture to the press box that will reawaken his critics. In truth, it was not his best innings and although it may have wrapped him in a warm cocoon of personal satisfaction, it did little to prove his value as a No 3.

While England's batsmen were piling on the pressure, Ganguly, outwardly calm, did his best to marshal his troops. But India's bowlers were decidedly brittle and even Ganguly went for 28 from his first three overs. When those two redoubtable spinners, Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble, came on, they found that their job was containment rather than aggression. They were lesser bowlers because of it.

At the halfway stage, Ganguly strode into the pavilion hardly able to wait to have a go at the England bowlers. He pranced out with Virender Sehwag and in no time at all the ball was racing here, there and everywhere to the fence and runs were coming at seven an over. It was unbelievable strokeplay. Ganguly led the way, cutting, slashing, driving and pulling when he had the chance. It was as if a tidal wave was racing through the Bay of Bengal and the England bowlers were so many shipwrecks. Now it was Hussain's turn to meditate in the covers or at short fine-leg and a fat lot of good it did him. Then, when the two openers had put on 106 in 15 overs, Ganguly strode on to the tightrope once too often, had a wild slog at Alex Tudor and was bowled. Eight overs later, four more wickets had fallen and it was 146 for 5 in the 24th over. Hussain must have felt that England's disciplined cricket and excellent fielding had wrapped it up. But it is dangerous to count your chickens.

Sachin Tendulkar's undignified dismissal, to a short one from Ashley Giles when he made room to cut, brought in Mohammad Kaif, a relative novice, to join Yuvraj Singh. Yuvraj has tormented England in this series. He is a wonderfully talented left-hander who looks like a cross between Gary Sobers and Graeme Pollock with a dash of Frank Woolley thrown in.

He now treated a deafeningly buoyant and exhilarated crowd to an extraordinary exhibition of strokeplay. He cut and drove with withering power and orthodox certainty; he swivelled and pulled as if he was a ballet dancer who was playing with the audience and the fielders. The footwork was electric. Ball after ball screamed to the boundary and England had no answer. Kaif too was in mid-season form.

Hussain was as controlled as Ganguly had been earlier, and as powerless. He changed his bowlers, altered his field and then Paul Collingwood snaffled Yuvraj. Harbhajan and Kumble perished, and the stage was set for the perfect finish. By kind permission of the rope trick, India did it with three balls and two wickets left. It doesn't get much better than this.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... with this review
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam