While Suresh Raina (left) followed up his ton with a sound 42, Virat Kohli was searching for the impetus to get back to form at Trent Bridge © Getty Images
Indian batsmen Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli registered almost identical scores in the third One-Day International (ODI) versus England as Team India produced a clinical performance to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. Devarchit Varma explores the funny side of cricket and how similar scores by two individuals can be defined differently.
It was a modest chase for the Indian team. With the wicket at Trent Bridge in Nottingham favouring the Indian team more than the tourists, there wasn’t enough chance for England to come back in the game after they folded for paltry 227. The Indian batsmen began on a confident note and thwarted the England pacers’ attempts to get early breakthroughs. Having got their eyes in, the Indians then batted comfortably to take their side to a comfortable win. Ambati Rayudu was indeed very impressive with his unbeaten 64, while contributions from Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane — who was promoted to open the innings — would have delighted the Indian contingent. Raina was coming off a fine century in the previous game, whereas Rahane has been among runs this tour.
Keeping all this aside, there was one innings that would certainly have brought the smiles back to the faces of Virat Kohli‘s supporters. The right-handed batsman, who has had an atrocious outing in England so far, looked extremely confident and determined as he scored a fluent 40. Uncharacteristically, Kohli wasn’t his usual aggressive self as he has been in 50-overs cricket and hit only two fours and a six during his stay at the crease. His innings was indeed a fighting knock, but there is a little more to it.
Raina scored run-a-ball 42. Kohli faced 50 balls and scored 40 runs. Looking at the numbers, they are rather alike. And yet, years down the line if someone opens the scorecard of the match they wouldn’t be told the actual story. While one batsman — Raina — was brimming with lot of positivity, not carrying the burden of the loss in the Test series, on the other side is a batsman who has looked completely out of sorts and has struggled for runs which used to come so easily at one time. Raina and Kohli got near-identical scores, but the build-up they had for this particular match could not have been more different. Raina joined the side and started the ODI series with a mission to ‘get back the smile on his team’s face,’ whereas Kohli started it with the primary mission of sorting his form out, and getting that smile back on his face first. How funny cricket can be!
Nevertheless, India put in a clinical performance at Trent Bridge in the third ODI. The Indian team pulled things back after England started off strongly on the back of a solid opening stand between Alex Hales and Alastair Cook, and did not let go the momentum. India were dynamic and expressive, and played with lot of freedom as compared to the English players, who seem to get haunted every time a pitch starts assisting spinners and there are close fielders. India’s lead in the five-match ODI series of 2-0 has put them in a position from where they can either win the series or draw it, as the scenario of a series loss is now out of the equation.
Team India deserves all the praise that is coming their way. They have quickly put behind the disappointment of the Test series and having bounced back in the ODIs in such an emphatic manner. What this proves is that India enjoy the 50-over format, and can get the better of virtually any other international side on their day. The fielding was top-notch, as was the bowling, especially by the spinners. This facet of India has resulted in a lot of their famous wins, and will continue to help them in times to come.
Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014
(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)