India 203 England 164: England self-destruct in Delhi

Possessing the strength and ability to hit a cricket ball into a stand for six is a huge asset in one-day cricket, yet it only wins games when the player combines the skill with the use of his brain. England's batsmen failed to use their grey matter yesterday and, in the first of seven one-day matches against India, deservedly fell to a 39-run defeat.

Having dismissed India for 203 in 46.1 overs England, who had progressed belligerently to 117 for 3 in the 20th over, should have strolled to victory. But in 11.3 overs of thoughtless and occasionally egotistical batting they lost six wickets for the addition of 25 runs, and threw away the chance to move 1-0 up in the series.

Matthew Prior, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff and Ian Blackwell are the most destructive batsmen in the England team, but they all forfeited their wicket attempting to sweep the ball for six or four. They will claim that they were only playing their natural game, and that the shot was on.

Rubbish. Prior and Pietersen appeared to be trying to compete with a partner at the other end in the big-hitting stakes, while Flintoff and Blackwell attempted to sweep their way out of tricky situations. Three of the above fell to Harbhajan Singh, who claimed career-best figures of 5 for 31, while Pietersen was caught on the boundary edge off the occasional spin of Yuvraj Singh.

"When Kevin and I were batting we had them by the proverbials and we should have won," Flintoff said. "But we both got out in consecutive overs and that put a lot of pressure on the lower order. One-day cricket is about managing risk and today we did not manage it too well... The defeat has hurt us, and so it should do. We know we have wasted a good opportunity."

While Pietersen and Flintoff were batting together England looked set to pass India's target within 35 overs. Pietersen struck nine boundaries during a 39-ball innings of 46, and Flintoff hit two sixes in his 37-ball 40. After Andrew Strauss and Owais Shah were dismissed by Irfan Pathan in the first over of England's reply, and following Prior's senseless slog to deep square leg, Pietersen and Flintoff regained the initiative by adding 60 runs in eight overs.

There is nothing more entertaining for an England supporter than watching these two bat together, but while in partnership there is the risk that they may get drawn into a shoot-out in which they attempt to out-hit each other. Both players will deny this, stating that the team come first, but on this occasion Flintoff's batting - he had just hit Sri Sreesanth for 16 runs in an over - appeared to affect Pietersen, who had not seen much of the strike for three or four overs.

Pietersen gave Gautam Gambhir the second of three catches when he hoicked a low full toss to deep mid-wicket, and Flintoff was given out lbw when he missed an attempted sweep.

England's method was enjoyed by Harbhajan. "Sweeping gives you the option of getting batsmen lbw or bowled if he doesn't pick the length of the ball," he said. "If the pitch is keeping low, like this one, it is a bit of a risky shot. If I was a batsman I would not play that shot."

Harbhajan bowled very well but credit should also be given to Rahul Dravid for his captaincy. With Pietersen and Flintoff causing havoc Dravid delayed using his "power plays" - two five-over periods when the fielding side has to have nine players fielding within the 30-yard circle - until the partnership was broken. But once the breakthrough had been made he attacked, placing fielders around the bat. England's batsmen were restricted and the pressure grew.

It is only going to get tougher for England. It was a sing-song that brought the tourists victory in the third Test in Bombay - and it was a Singh who brought them down to earth yesterday.

Scoreboard from Delhi

England won toss

India

G Gambhir c Jones b Kabir Ali 25

42 min, 27 balls, 3 fours, 1 six

V Sehwag c Plunkett b Anderson 7

12 min, 8 balls, 1 four

*R S Dravid b Plunkett 34

78 min, 50 balls, 7 fours

Yuvraj Singh b Kabir Ali 1

6 min, 6 balls

M Kaif run out (Kabir Ali-Jones, TV replay) 4

13 min, 9 balls

S K Raina c Collingwood b Blackwell 24

82 min, 62 balls, 3 fours

I K Pathan c Plunkett b Anderson 28

66 min, 43 balls, 4 fours

ÝM S Dhoni c Collingwood b Plunkett 20

57 min, 28 balls, 2 fours

Harbhajan Singh c Flintoff b Kabir Ali 37

48 min, 46 balls, 3 fours, 1 six

R P Singh not out 2

6 min, 3 balls

S Sreesanth c Pietersen b Kabir Ali 0

2 min, 1 ball

Extras (lb3 w15 nb3) 21

Total (211 min, 46.4 overs) 203

Fall: 1-17 (Sehwag) 2-56 (Gambhir) 3-58 (Yuvraj Singh) 4-68 (Kaif) 5-80 (Dravid) 6-138 (Raina) 7-146 (Pathan) 8-201 (Dhoni), 9-203 (Harbhajan Singh) 10-203 (Sreesanth).

Bowling: Anderson 10-1-41-2 (4-0-24-1, 2-1-1-0, 3-0-8-1, 1-0-8-0); Kabir Ali 8.4-1-45-4 (w3) (6-1-32-2, 1-0-5-0, 1-0-7-0, 0.4-0-1-2), Flintoff 8-0-31-0 (nb3 w1) (5-0-14-0, 3-0-17-0); Plunkett 8-2-42-2 (w3) (6-2-22-1, 2-0-20-1); Collingwood 2-0-17-0 (w6); Blackwell 10-0-24-1 (w2) (one spell each).

Progress: Power Play 1: overs 1-10 56-2; PP2: overs 11-15 69-4; PP3 overs 16-20 80-5. 50 in 40 min, 56 balls. 100 in 109 min, 141 balls. 150 in 165 min, 223 balls. 200 in 203 min, 277 balls.

England

A J Strauss c Dhoni b Pathan 0

2 min, 3 balls

M J Prior c Gambhir b Harbhajan Singh 22

58 min, 31 balls, 4 fours

O A Shah lbw b Pathan 4

3 min, 3 balls, 1 four

K P Pietersen c Gambhir b Yuvraj Singh 46

88 min, 49 balls, 9 fours

*A Flintoff lbw b Harbhajan Singh 41

38 min, 37 balls, 4 fours, 2 sixes

P D Collingwood c Kaif b Harbhajan Singh 8

43 min, 24 balls, 1 four

ÝG O Jones b Harbhajan Singh 0

8 min, 10 balls

I D Blackwell c Gambhir b Harbhajan Singh (TV replay) 10

24 min, 20 balls, 2 fours

L E Plunkett c Dhoni b Pathan 14

37 min, 31 balls, 2 fours

Kabir Ali lbw b Yuvraj Singh 0

6 min, 6 balls

J M Anderson not out 12

24 min, 17 balls, 2 fours

Extras (lb4 w1 nb2) 7

Total (171 min, 38.1 overs) 164

Fall: 1-0 (Strauss) 2-4 (Shah) 3-57 (Prior) 4-117 (Pietersen) 5-117 (Flintoff) 6-120 (Jones) 7-137 (Blackwell) 8-141 (Collingwood) 9-142 (Kabir Ali) 10-164 (Plunkett).

Bowling: Pathan 7.1-1-21-3 (6-1-19-2, 1.1-0-2-1); Sreesanth 5-0-39-0 (4-0-23-0, 1-0-16-0); R P Singh 4-0-32-0 (1-0-8-0, 3-0-24-0); Harbhajan Singh 10-2-31-5 (4-0-22-1, 6-2-9-4); Yuvraj Singh 10-2-32-2 (nb2); Sehwag 2-0-5-0 (one spell each).

Progress: Power Play 1: overs 1-10, 50-2; PP2 overs 25-30, 124-6 to 141-7. 50: 48 min, 58 balls. 100 in 87 min, 110 balls. 150 in 150 min, 194 balls.

India win by 39 runs

Man of the match: Harbhajan Singh.

Umpires: Asad Rauf and A V Jayaprakash.

TV replay umpire: K Hariharan.

Match referee: R S Mahanama.

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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future