India hand out another lesson to England

Learning goes on as World Cup looms - now Fletcher knows how weak are supporting cast

India reaffirmed their one-day superiority over England yesterday with a thumping seven-wicket victory against Andrew Strauss's side in the final match of the tourists' nine-week tour. The win gave India a 5-1 series win, a result which gives a true reflection of the gulf in class between the teams.

Half-centuries from Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Geraint Jones allowed England to post 288, their highest total of the seven-match series, but the bowlers rarely troubled the hosts as they cruised home with five balls to spare.

Rahul Dravid and Robin Uthappa, making his international debut, put England's total in perspective on an excellent pitch by compiling 166 for the first wicket. The pair fell in consecutive overs, giving England a glimmer of hope, but Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina ensured victory with a 115-run stand.

England will cite the absence of five leading players, and the option to rest Andrew Flintoff for the final three matches, as the principal reason for the result. They have a point, yet it would be unwise for them to write the series off.

If England have learnt anything over the past three weeks it is that their bench players will not win them the World Cup. Results here confirmed the fact that England will need to field their strongest possible side if they are to have any hope of success in the Caribbean in 12 months' time.

Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, already knew what Pietersen, Strauss and Collingwood, who have carried the batting, were capable of, but Matthew Prior, Vikram Solanki and Owais Shah have done little to push their case for inclusion.

Prior's potential as a batsman-keeper may maintain the interest of the selectors and keep him in future one-day squads, but England cannot afford to continue picking two glovemen. While the series was alive there was talk of Prior easing Jones out of the team, but scores of 22, 32, 49 and 53 in Jones's final four innings have ended any chance of this taking place.

The performance of the bowlers offers greater optimism. James Anderson confirmed his return to form in the Bombay Test and was the pick of the seamers in the one-dayers. He has benefited from bowling regularly in match situations and it is to be hoped the selectors allow him to play for Lancashire and not keep him as 12th man at the Test matches.

Liam Plunkett continues to make progress and Sajid Mahmood highlighted his potential with hostile opening spells in the final two games. Ian Blackwell does not look a Test player, but he proved that there will be life after Ashley Giles in one-day cricket.

Harbhajan Singh, with 12 victims, was the top wicket-taker in the series but Blackwell's left-armers proved to be the most economic. He is not a huge spinner of a ball but he has perfected bowling over the wicket at right-handers, conceding fewer than four runs an over. He has been guilty of showing a lack of nous with the bat but he bowled with craft and intelligence.

The same could not be said of Kabir Ali, who conceded more than six runs an over. Gareth Batty ought to have played in more than one game yet he failed to impress in Cochin. Both will sweat over their places for the next squad in June.

Much has been made of England's tendency to place a greater emphasis on Tests than one-dayers, and it is difficult to see the bias changing. It has been suggested that one-day series should be played before Tests, but English broadcast- ers and the overseas boards want it to remain as it is.

In England the scheduling will not affect attendances, where spectators still flock to Test matches, and Sky enjoy covering one-day cricket during football's summer break. At most overseas destinations it is different. Test grounds are rarely full, and in an attempt to finish tours off on a high, the limited-over games are played at the end.

England will feel they might have pushed India close if they had a full squad, but they are what they are:ranked seventh in the world. In football the position would not appear disastrous, but in cricket there are only eight decent teams.

INDORE SCOREBOARD

India won toss

England

*A J Strauss c Khartik b Sreesanth 25 (Edged attempted drive to keeper; 42 min, 34 balls, 5 fours)

I R Bell run out (Yuvraj Singh) 32 (Sent back at non-striker's end; 92 min, 45 balls, 4 fours)

M J Prior c Pathan b Sreesanth 2 (Top-edged attempted pull to long-leg; 11 min, 11 balls)

K P Pietersen c Uthappa b Yuvraj Singh 64 (Slog-sweep to deep mid-wicket; 83 min, 56 balls, 11 fours, 1 six)

P D Collingwood c R P Singh b Pathan 64 (Lofted drive to deep mid-on; 117 min, 84 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes)

ÝG O Jones c Karthik b Sreesanth 53 (Brilliant diving catch by keeper; 62 min, 50 balls, 7 fours, 1 six)

I D Blackwell c Raina b Sreesanth 11 (Chipped slower ball to long-on; 13 min, 10 balls, 2 fours)

L E Plunkett c V R V Singh b Sreesanth 6 (Lofted drive to long-on; 17 min, 9 balls)

Kabir Ali c Venugopal Rao b Pathan 1 (Lofted drive to long-off; 6 min, 4 balls)

S I Mahmood c V R V Singh b Sreesanth 9 (Short-arm pull to mid-on; 5 min, 4 balls, 1 six)

J M Anderson not out 0 (1 min, 0 balls)

Extras (lb4 w8 nb9) 21

Total (all out; 229 min, 50 overs) 288

Fall: 1-43 (Strauss), 2-47 (Prior), 3-110 (Bell), 4-165 (Pietersen), 5-257 (Jones), 6-267 (Collingwood), 7-274 (Blackwell), 8-277 (Kabir Ali), 9-288 (Plunkett), 10-288 (Mahmood).

Bowling: Pathan 10-1-44-2, Sreesanth 10-1-55-6, R P Singh 7-0-44-0, V R V Singh 7-0-73-0, Powar 9-1-38-0, Yuvraj Singh 7-0-30-1.

India

A R Uthappa run out (Anderson-Jones/TV replay) 86 (Failed to ground bat jogging second; 123 min, 96 balls, 12 fours, 1 six)

*R Dravid lbw Mahmood 69 (Played across full-length swinging ball; 128 min, 79 balls, 9 fours)

Yuvraj Singh not out 63 (92 min, 57 balls, 6 fours)

S K Raina b Kabir Ali 53 (Missed huge swing across line; 83 min, 65 balls, 2 fours, 1 six)

Irfan Pathan not out 1 (3 min, 1 balls)

Extras (lb5 w8 nb4) 17

Total (for 3 wkts; 216 min, 49.1 overs) 289

Fall: 1-166 (Uthappa), 2-166 (Dravid), 3-281 (Raina).

Did not bat: Y Venugopal Rao, ÝK K D Karthik, R R Powar, R P Singh, V R V Singh, S Sreesanth.

Bowling: Anderson 8.1-0-67-0, Mahmood 10-0-61-1, Plunkett 10-0-40-0, Kabir Ali 8-0-47-1, Blackwell 10-0-51-0, Collingwood 3-0-18-0.

Umpires: A V Jayaprakash (India) and R E Koertzen (SA).

India win by 7 wickets to take series 5-1.

Man of the match: S Sreesanth. Man of the series: Yuvraj Singh.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
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

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering