The moments that mattered in the first match of the ODI series between India and England in Rajkot, as Ian Bell and James Tredwell starred in a nine-run victory.
The (Lack Of) Dive
Ian Bell and Alastair Cook showed just what fine, versatile one-day players they’ve become over the last 12 months by getting England off to a flyer, sharing a record opening stand against India of 158. Bell’s progress was serene as he eased his way to 84, but he would have been kicking himself when he was run out with a third ODI ton there for the taking; failing to pull out a dive which would have saved him as Rahane threw down the stumps. Cook followed four overs later as England stalled, and it was left to Samit Patel to wrest back the initiative with a late flurry.
The Roof Smasher
After a few blockages down the pipe with Morgan and Pietersen both going in the 40s, England needed a final flourish at the death. Kieswetter and Patel were charged with getting it done. It was tricky at first. Kieswetter had been thrashing and slashing without much joy until the hapless/hopeless Sharma’s final over. Fourteen had already come from four balls, before Kieswetter literally jumped into a wide good-lengther from a stance outside leg stump to check-punch it over extra cover and into the screeching bleachers.
It wasn’t out, but Bresnan can count himself unlucky not to be able to claim a rather brilliant catch. And he did catch it; the issue being that the ball made contact with the floor before Bresnan was able to exhibit control over it. In the end, it only cost four runs, when Raina inexplicably patted a length delivery back to Tredwell. The Kent off spinner was the most economical bowler on show, with his full allotment of overs costing 44 runs and reaping the wickets of the four Indian batsmen who passed 40, just as they each looked to motor on.
Whether he was riled by his batting partner (Ravi Jadeja) or the 12th man (Cheteshwar Pujara), Dhoni looked pumped as he aimed a verbal barrage at the two men in lighter blue standing before him. At one stage it looked like the Indian captain would win it on his own – his face glazed over with a stern, steely look as he deposited Patel (twice) and then Bresnan for monstrous sixes. He probably should’ve come in earlier, but let’s not open that can of worms…
The Hanger On
He always seems to do just enough to warrant a repeat selection, if not a reprieve from his critics. Jade Dernbach’s bad overs were punctuated with deliveries that beat the bat with pace and movement off the seam. One thing that should be said of the Surrey quick is that the consistency of his arm-speed when delivering his cutters, slower and stock balls is unparalleled – bordering on the freakish. But it’s what happens after he turns his arm over that he’ll be judged on.
Fresh to the crease, Kevin Pietersen was his usual, twitchy self. In between a couple of clinical hits to the fence, an ungainly fresh-air shot to an Ishant Sharma length ball roused Sky Sports’ elder statesmen, Lords Gower and Botham, from an early morning doze. While Gower mused on the merits of pre-meditation in that familiar discursive style, Beefy’s contribution was less cerebral: “One-day cricket”. Roy Walker would have been proud…
We are using archive pictures for this Test because several photo agencies, including Getty Images, have been barred from the ground following a dispute with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, while other agencies have withdrawn their photographers in protest.