Match Report: 3rd ODI,The Kia Oval

Posted: September 10, 2011 by The CouchExpert in Cricket, India in England 2011
Tags: , , , , ,

Goutham Chakravarthi

For a brief while, India were on top on Saturday evening. Two spinners bowling in tandem, ball stopping on the batsman occasionally, ball turning occasionally, it looked as though the moment for a win over England had arrived. Ashwin had the ball on a leash, dropping it on a full length, luring the batsman to have a drive at it. Every ball dipped and turned.

Jadeja made an impressive comeback to the side with both bat and ball

Trott played for spin when it went the other way and Bell kept getting hit on the pad. India liked the conditions and sensed a win. The heavens opened up and overs and time were lost. When they came back, it was a greasy outfield and the ball became wet. England batted deep enough and sensibly enough to ensure India wouldn’t go back home with any series victory.

A green wicket and another lost toss ensured that India had to bat first for the third game in succession. Bresnan and Anderson found holes in the Indian top-order by moving the ball both ways. Though the pair would have liked to pitch it up a bit more given the conditions, they sliced through the top in their opening bursts to have India four down within an hour.

Raina fought hard, but threw it away with an ugly swipe to leave India 5 down for 58. As much as Raina is comfortable in the shorter format, he needed to show the restraint the situation demanded. His shot was reckless and disrespected the situation India found itself in.

Dhoni played the rearguard action well. With the ball moving less and less as the afternoon wore on, he opened up to play some bold stokes. Jadeja, after having finally landed inEngland, played a splendid innings. He was fluent through the off side and England obliged by bowling to his strengths. His fluency on the off-side backward of point off either foot stood out. In the company of an equally impressive Ashwin, he took India to a total that looked beyond their reach two hours earlier.

Ashwin and Jadeja were the biggest gains for Indian from this game. Both have been around on the fringes for quite sometime now. They first gave India a chance by putting on a rapid partnership of 59, and then put the brakes on England with their spin. Jadeja is a restrictive bowler who looks to choke the scoring of runs. With the wicket offering occasional turn, he became doubly effective.

Ashwin looked menacing. Often, he is criticized for trying out too many of his variations – offies, offies with round-arm action, top spinners, arm balls and carom balls. Today, his offies drifted, gripped and bounced. He looked threatening and left Trott clueless when he set him up for his carom ball. Stokes looked ill at ease against spin and seemed relieved when Ashwin finally bowled him.

Bopara held the innings together with an impressive innings

On the other hand, it was an important knock for someone like Bopara. He didn’t resort to panic sweeps when the ball started to spin. He kept waiting for loose deliveries and the Indian seamers, who were a big let down for Dhoni in this game, kept giving him a full toss or a short ball every over to relieve the pressure built by the spinners. He finally fell done in by the impressive Ashwin right at the finish line. But, he looked the part though he might be a better option at 5 than at 6.

How England will find the right slots for their first choice players might indeed prove to be a jig-saw puzzle over the course of the remaining two ODIs in England and the 5 ODIs in India. Kieswetter looks a powerful option at the top, but his defensive game is suspect. It might not be a bad idea to bat Bell and Cook at the top and have the option of Kieswetter at the back-end of the innings to take advantage of the bowling powerplay. He has proved to have the game to take advantage of fielding restrictions. They are unlikely to do that especially with him getting good runs at the top and might like batting at the top of the order in India as well.

On the positive side for India, many of their youngsters have shown promise. It will be a surprise if Varun Aaron doesn’t get a game on Sunday given the poor show of the seamers that practically cost them the game on Friday. England will look to seal the series with a win on Sunday.

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Comments
  1. thecognitivenomad says:

    The biggest gain, as you rightly said was Ashwin’s clever batting and Jadeja’s resurgence. It is a shame we couldn’t capitalize on this. Hope the Lords memories throw us a ray of hope tomorrow.

  2. Hemanth says:

    1.Raina’s shot selection in this tour has been appalling..
    2.Dhoni’s contribution with the bat has not been much this year except for that magical knock in wc finals..
    hope the coach takes serious note of these 2 points..
    Ashwin has been a revelation for quite some time.. it is great to see him attack in ODIs unlike harbhajan who was resorting to defensive tactics so often..
    And I think time has come for us to forgive Jadeja for screwing up that T20 game against England in 2008.. Also, i dont think he is as defensive in bowling as u think he is..
    all in all, it was a close game and never a shame to lose a close contest..

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