James Tredwell takes four wickets as England beat India by nine runs

England spinner James Tredwell (C) picked up four wickets to help his side register a narrow win © PTI

By S S Ramaswamy

Rajkot: Jan 11, 2013

India‘s woeful run of losses continued after a struggling top-order failed to convert good starts even on a placid track as England drew first blood with a thrilling nine-run victory in the first cricket one dayer on Friday.

Chasing a stiff target of 326, India lacked the batting firepower and were restricted to a 316 for nine in a high-scoring contest to concede a 1-0 lead to visitors in the five-match series.

Opting to bat first, England rode on a record 158-run opening stand between captain Alastair Cook (75) and in-form Ian Bell (85) to post an imposing 325 for four on a batting paradise at the newly built Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

The Indians conceded as many as 38 runs in the final two overs with Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar giving away 20 and 18 runs respectively. The late flourish by England proved costly for the hosts.

India began the run chase in right earnest with Ajinkya Rahane (47) and an out-of form Gautam Gambhir (52) adding 96 runs for the opening stand but both were guilty of frittering away a good start.

Yuvraj Singh (61), Suresh Raina (50) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (32) were other notable scorers but again none of them could translate the start into a match-winning effort.

Off-spinner James Tredwell was the pick of the English bowlers as he scalped four for 44 while Jade Dernbach chipped in with two wickets.

It was a creditable turnaround for the visitors who came into match with back-to-back defeats in the warm-up games against India A and Delhi respectively.

The two teams will now travel to Kochi for the second one-dayer to be held on January 15.

Openers Gambhir and Rahane batting confidently against the pace bowlers to rattle up quick runs before both perished to off spinner Tredwell in successive overs.

Both batsmen played the flick, glance and slash well to gather runs at a fast clip and Gambhir even struck fast bowler Steven Finn for three successive fours in the latter’s third over in which the English bowler conceded 17 runs.

The 50 was raised in the 7th over before there was a minor scare when Gambhir narrowly made it home after sprinting for a second run to deep square leg.

But the advent of double off-spin in the form of Tredwell and Joe Root brought down the run-rate a bit and in their eagerness to up the tempo both openers fell.

Rahane was the first to go when he failed to reach the pitch of the ball after stepping out to Tredwell and lofted a catch to long off to the 57th ball he faced.

Tredwell sent back Gambhir soon after the left handed batsman had surged to his half century and the Indian 100 had come through a catch at short mid wicket when the batsman flicked the off-spinner.

From 96 for no loss, things became tougher for the hosts at 102 for 2 in the 19th over and at the end of the 20th India were 104 for 2, eight runs off their rivals’ score at the same stage. By the halfway stage, the difference was nine in favour of England.

India fell further behind when Kohli departed for 15, edijg one to wicketkeeper Keiswetter off Tim Bresnan leaving home team at a difficult 138 for 3. It was the Delhi batsmans 4th failure in as many innings.

However, Yuvraj put India ahead in the next five by launching an all-out attack on Dernbach and hitting the medium pacer for three successive leg side fours in the 28th over and another in the 30th to race to his 50 in 38 balls, containing a six a leg side heave off Bresnan – and eight fours.

At the end of the 30th over, India had moved ahead to 176 for 3 in comparison to England’s 167 for 1.

Suresh Raina gave Yuvraj good support as the two left-handers kept India in the hunt by adding 60 runs in 9 overs.

But India suffered a big setback when Tredwell induced the well-set Yuvraj to paddle sweep and the top edge was caught at fine leg just inside the 30-yard circle by Dernbach.

It was the off spin bowler’s third wicket of the innings.

Though the home team was ahead by 10 runs after the 35th over at the start of the mandatory bowling powerplay, they had lost two extra wickets and at that stage needed 128 runs from the last 90 balls.

Raina, now the aggressor and senior partner, took 11 runs off Finn’s 36th over and then slammed the wayward Dernbach for two leg side fours in the 39th.

In the 40th over there was a controversial appeal for a catch by Bresnan at third man off Raina after the ball had been dropped by the diving fielder and taken off the turf.

Third umpire Vineet Kulkarni ruled the decision in Raina’s favour when the batsman was on 40. India added 33 runs in the bowling powerplay which left the hosts needing to get 95 runs in the last 10 overs. They could manage only 85 though.

Brief Scores: England 325 for 4 in 50 overs (Alastair Cook 75, Ian Bell 85; Ashok Dinda 2 for 53) bt India 316 for 9 in 50 overs (Yuvraj Singh 61, Gautam Gambhir 52, Suresh Raina 50; James Tredwell 4 for 44) by 9 runs

Man of the Match: James Tredwell

Full Scorecard

Photo Gallery