England rightly remained unchanged from their defeat in Hyderabad. Giving these young players a chance to accommodate themselves in India is a key part of this tour.
However, they were simply outplayed by a transformed Indian side, relishing playing in their home conditions.
Having won the toss Alastair Cook chose to bat first. It was a decision he would have immediately regretted after two overs as he and Craig Kieswetter unpadded in the dressing room. The Kumars, Praveen and Vinay, had removed both openers without scoring, luring them into loose shots outside off. England were 0-2.
Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen set about rebuilding the innings in a role reversal partnership. Trott played fluidly and with exquisite timing from the start while his partner was more watchful. However, in the tenth over Trott (34) joined his openers in the hutch after a lazy prod outside off and England were three down for 48.
Ravi Bopara joined Pietersen at the crease and again England rebuilt. A situation like this was the exact reason Pietersen was picked and he began to reverse the pressure with two consecutive straight driven sixes off Ravindra Jadeja.
Bopara complimented him nicely, but as was to be the theme of the innings, the pair were dismissed in quick succession. When Ravi Ashwin pinned Bopara LBW for 36 Pietersen followed suit in the next over – four short of a 50 that could have sparked his ODI form.
Jonny Bairstow and Samit Patel were next to wrestle some momentum England’s way only to see it slip through their grip with the score on 211. Once again, India removed both batsmen within an over of each other – but this time England had no response. The tail didn’t wag and England were rolled for 237 in 48 overs, Vinay Kumar picking up 4-30.
Quick wickets were needed to rattle the Indian batsmen and a fired-up Tim Bresnan obliged. The Yorkshire man blasted out both Indian openers inside seven overs and left India scrambling at 29-2. However Gambhir and Kohli weren’t to be rumbled.
They played patiently to begin with, saw off the England hostilities and showed the visitors how to launch an attack once a platform is set. Kohli in particular was outstanding, finishing unbeaten on 112, while Gambhir returned to his best form with 84*.
India, who wrapped up victory with 80 balls remaining, are now one win short of taking the series. England, must learn to bat and bowl in partnerships if they are to overcome the deficit.
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