Vaughan boosted by debutant Wharf's day of destruction

India 170 England 171-3 England win by 7 wickets
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Michael Vaughan promised a fresh, new England one-day side and his players delivered it here yesterday with a vibrant and professional display in the first of three NatWest Challenge matches against India.

Michael Vaughan promised a fresh, new England one-day side and his players delivered it here yesterday with a vibrant and professional display in the first of three NatWest Challenge matches against India.

England's emphatic seven-wicket victory, over a disappointing Indian side, will give this team a much-needed boost. There were 17.4 overs left when Andrew Flintoff whacked Anil Kumble over deep midwicket for six but it would be foolish to suggest they are on the verge of cracking this form of the game.

Vaughan will have been encouraged by the quality of the fielding and the fact that his team can compete against and beat a side containing several of the leading one-day players in the world. But it was the bowling of Alex Wharf, who took 3 for 30 on his England debut, which gave Vaughan greatest satisfaction.

Stephen Harmison brought an early conclusion to India's innings when he became the second England bowler to take a one-day international hat-trick - James Anderson took the first against Pakistan at The Oval in 2003 - but it was the bowling of Wharf that set up this victory.

Most players hope to sneak nervously into international cricket relatively unnoticed but this cannot be said of the Glamorgan seamer, who claimed Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid in each of his first three overs in a 14-ball spell that won him the man of the match award.

India, on 61 for 1, were moving along nicely when Vaughan introduced the 29-year-old into the attack. Ganguly, the scorer of 22 one-day hundreds, had just smashed Harmison for two boundaries and was attempting to do the same to the newcomer when he top-edged a pull and was well caught by Geraint Jones.

Flintoff was first to congratulate Wharf with a bear-hug. This was fitting because it was the Lancashire all-rounder who probably earned him the wicket after stopping a stinging drive off Ganguly at short extra-cover. The blow forced Flintoff to leave the field for treatment - and go for a precautionary X-ray on his right thumb after the match - but had this shot gone for four India's captain would not have tried the stroke which led to his downfall.

What a moment for Wharf. Released by Yorkshire in 1997, the paceman spent two summers going nowhere at Nottinghamshire. But Glamorgan saw something in the 24-year-old and lured him to Cardiff. Here he quickly became an integral part of a team which has won the First Division of the National League in two of the last three years.

And it is Wharf's all-round performances in limited-over cricket - not first-class - which gained him a place in England's one-day squad when Kabir Ali was forced to withdraw with a side strain.

Laxman was the next to go and there was little he could do about it. In an era when coaches appear to be searching solely for 100mph cracker-jack bowlers, it is reassuring to see there is still a place for an honest, aggressive seamer who consistently pitches the ball in the business area. Laxman edged to Jones.

Wharf saved the most prized wicket until last. Dravid is regarded by many to be the best batsman in the world. In the last two years he averages 82 in Test cricket but here he failed to control a hook shot. Darren Gough took a simple catch at fine leg and India were now 80 for 4.

This became 89 for 5 when Ashley Giles ran out the dangerous Yuvraj Singh with a wonderful throw from the boundary. England's fielding was rightly criticised after the NatWest Series but yesterday they were lithe and athletic. The selection of Vikram Solanki helped but even he would have struggled to hang on to the catch taken by Paul Collingwood, which dismissed Rohan Gavaskar, the son of Sunil, the former Indian great.

This catch was not quite as spectacular as the one Collingwood took to dismiss Ramnaresh Sarwan at Headingley but such brilliant moments can change games. Giles chipped in with the wicket of Irfan Pathan before Harmison took the first hat-trick of his professional career.

Mohammad Kaif's valiant effort ended when, on 50, he edged a slower ball to Jones, and Lakshmipathy Balaji was unlucky to be given out caught when the ball clearly struck his forearm guard. This left Ashish Nehra with the task of keeping out the world's leading bowler.

And he failed. Nehra chipped a horrible little prod back to the bowler and Harmison was swamped by his team-mates.

On a good pitch England had few problems chasing a modest total. Solanki continued his excellent form with a polished half-century and Andrew Strauss was his reassuring self. Vaughan was bowled by a beautiful away-swinger, only for Flintoff to arrive and clobber three huge sixes in his 23-ball innings of 34.


England won toss


V Sehwag c Vaughan b Gough 4

11 min, 12 balls

*S C Ganguly c Jones b Wharf 24

53 min, 31 balls, 4 fours

V V S Laxman c Jones b Wharf 29

51 min, 35 balls, 4 fours

ÝR S Dravid c Gough b Wharf 13

21 min, 16 balls, 3 fours

Yuvraj Singh run out (Giles TV replay) 4

26 min, 6 balls, 1 four

Mohammad Kaif c Jones b Harmison 50

109 min, 79 balls, 4 fours

R S Gavaskar c Collingwood b Flintoff 20

49 min, 49 balls

I K Pathan c and b Giles 3

18 min, 14 balls

A Kumble not out 9

29 min, 22 balls

L Balaji c Flintoff b Harmison 0

1 min, 1 ball

A Nehra c and b Harmison 0

1 min, 1 ball

Extras (b0, lb6, w5, nb3) 14

Total (189 min, 43.5overs) 170

Fall: 1-10 (Sehwag), 2-62 (Ganguly), 3-63 (Laxman), 4-80 (Dravid), 5-89 (Yuvraj Singh), 6-129 (Gavaskar), 7-143 (Pathan), 8-170 (Kaif), 9-170 (Balaji), 10-170 (Nehra).

Bowling: Gough 7-2-29-1 (nb1) (4-1-18-1, 2-0-4-0, 1-0-7-0); Harmison 8.5-0-41-3 (nb1,w4) (5-0-29-0, 2-0-6-0, 1.5-0-6-3), Flintoff 8-0-28-1 (w1) (5-0-23-0, 3-0-5-1); Wharf 8-0-30-3 (nb1) (6-0-20-3, 2-0-10-0); Giles 10-0-25-1, Collingwood 2-0-11-0 ( one spell each).

Progress: 50: 41 min, 56 balls. 15 overs: 76 for 3. 100: 115 min, 151 balls. 150: 169 min, 238 balls.

Kaif 50: 108 min, 78 balls, 4 fours.


M E Trescothick c Yuvraj Singh b Balaji 33

55 min, 40 balls, 7 fours

V S Solanki lbw b Pathan 52

121 min, 75 balls, 8 fours

*M P Vaughan b Balaji 0

9 min, 7 balls

A J Strauss not out 41

76 min, 52 balls, 6 fours

A Flintoff not out 34

20 min, 23 balls, 1 four, 3 sixes

Extras (b0, lb1, w7, nb3) 11

Total (for 3, 142 min, 32.2 overs) 171

Fall: 1-63 (Trescothick), 2-65 (Vaughan), 3-128 (Solanki).

Did not bat: P D Collingwood, ÝG O Jones, A F Giles, A G Wharf, D Gough, S J Harmison.

Bowling: Pathan 10-0-53-1 (w2) (6-0-29-0, 4-0-24-1); Nehra 6-0-23-0 (w4) (2-0-9-0, 4-0-14-0); Balaji 10-1-37-2 (nb1, w1) (3-0-17-0, 7-1-20-2); Kumble 6.2-0-57-0 (nb2) (3-0-22-0, 3.2-0-35-0).

Progress: 50: 45 min, 65 balls. 15 overs: 65-2. 100: 102 min, 140 balls. 150: 132 min, 182 balls.

Solanki 50: 121 min, 74 balls, 8 fours.

Umpires: D B Hair (Aus) and D R Shepherd (Eng).

Man of the match: A G Wharf.