New rules leave England in a fog as Ashley Giles regime begins with heavy loss

India A 224-4 England 175

Delhi

Ian Bell rescued Ashley Giles from a humiliating international coaching debut but could not prevent England's new year beginning with a whimpering 53-run defeat to India A in Delhi yesterday.

Opener Bell was the penultimate wicket to fall, his 91 off 89 balls the perfect anchor innings. However, in pursuit of a revised target of 229 from 39 overs, too many of his partners sunk without trace; his ninth-wicket half-century partnership with Steven Finn that took England from 117 to 168 – they succumbed for 175 – was like watching seamen bail the Titanic with a thimble.

The day did not begin well for the tourists. Alastair Cook arrived at the ground nursing a cold. As the mercury slipped below four degrees, he wisely passed on responsibilities to Eoin Morgan, whose final act of 2012 was a last-ball six to win the second Twenty20 international in Mumbai.

His first of 2013 was to win the toss but that was as good as it got for Morgan, one of six England batsmen to be dismissed for single figures in conditions that better resembled a January day on the coast of his native Ireland. Bell thought "Liverpool in early April" was more accurate.

If, in this land of palmists and ten-a-penny astrologists, England's invalided captain was looking for auguries as he attempts to lay to rest England's 28-year one-day hoodoo in India, he might consider that the novelty of fog stopping play in Delhi bodes well. The breaking of his side's equivalent 28-year Test hoodoo before Christmas was heralded by a warm-up match being halted by an equally novel monkey invasion.

Bell, to his credit, did not indulge in straw-grasping. "I thought they outplayed us completely," said England's anchorman. Under the revised one-day international regulations, bowlers are now permitted two bouncers per over, up from one. Like kids with stabilisers removed, Finn, Jade Dernbach and Tim Bresnan bounced with abandon. The result was a chase that was at least 30 runs too many.

Bell admitted that India A "didn't have the pace in their attack that we did" but they decided "just to bowl top of the stumps and that was quite hard to get away". The victor's decision not to exploit the rule change for change's sake paid off. Kevin Pietersen, back for the first time since rescinding his one-day retirement, initially looked to be making light work of the chase as he struck three boundaries of a single Sreesanth over. His miscue to mid-on cheered the chilblained crowd but derailed England's response.

Unlike the fog, Samit Patel failed to hang around. His dismissal left England 42 for 2, which became 72 for 6 as the next four batsmen retreated to the pavilion with undue haste. Bell promised lessons would be learned. "We'll make sure we don't make the same mistakes with bat and ball in the next practice game."

That day-night match takes place against a Delhi XI tomorrow at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, where yesterday India salvaged a modicum of pride by beating Pakistan by 10 runs to avoid the shame of a 3-0 series whitewash. Cook will return, cold permitting, for what is their final warm-up match before the series begins in earnest in Rajkot on Friday. The selectors may also cast an eye over fast bowler Stuart Meaker and spinner Danny Briggs. Briggs's fellow slow bowler, James Tredwell, was the pick of England's bowlers here in defeat.

The new year may not have started the way Ashley Giles had resolved but the good news for England's new coach is that things can only get better in 2013.

* We are unable to print live pictures from yesterday's play after a dispute with the Indian Cricket Board, which has refused access to major picture agencies, which we view as a restriction on the press.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
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

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on