For the third match in succession, England underperformed with the bat. Once again, they have failed to post a competitive total against an Indian attack lacking real penetration. The only difference this time was instead of getting off to a good start and succumbing to spin, England instead were undone by some disciplined seam bowling from Bhuvneswar Kumar. One-day new boy Alex Hales was out-thought to be bowled with a vicious in-swinger, before under-fire captain Alastair Cook fended a cut shot to Suresh Raina at a short gully. That set the tone for the hosts as they were bundled out for 206 in the final over. There was some resistance from Joe Root (44) and Eoin Morgan (32) before both were dismissed playing soft shots. Only the returning Moeen Ali (67) took the game to the tourists as once again they were disappointingly soft in their resistance.
Having been the talking point for one reason or another throughout the Test series, Moeen came into the ODI team having not suffered the ignominy of two comprehensive defeats in the last week. The lack of emotional scarring was evident as Moeen came into bat with his side in deep trouble and did everything he could humanly muster to make his side competitive. A majestic 67 from just 50 balls, including three maximums, showed everyone in attendance at Edgbaston that there were no demons in the pitch and in fact attack is often the best form of defence. Had Moeen’s innings occurred coming in at number three or four, then England may have been propelled to a total far greater than the meagre 206 they achieved. As it was however, the damage had been done and all the Worcestershire all-rounder could muster was taking his side to a total more befitting a T20, not one of more than double the overs.
It is never easy in limited-overs cricket when trying to defend a total that is not even in the same avenue as being competitive, but the Indian openers systematically destroyed an England bowling attack devoid of confidence. It was as comprehensive a dismantling as you are likely to see in a game of 50-over cricket between two Test nations. India’s Test match tormentor James Anderson has lacked any kind of penetration, while Steven Finn was five or six mph down on where he should be bowling. Harry Gurney, who stock rose in the Sri Lanka series, only to be dropped for this series, was treated disdain, like a person swatting at a wasp with a rolled up copy of the Times. This is not to take anything away from the Indian batsmen though, Ajinkya Rahane was sublime for his 106, while Shikhar Dhawan went some way to banishing his batting nightmares from the Test series.
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