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


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.


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.

The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style

ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

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

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
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week