England edge tight affair at the Oval

England took firm control of the ODI series with India after a close victory at the Oval on Friday. India slumped to 25-4 in tricky batting conditions but captain MS Dhoni rallied with Jadeja to steer India past the 200 mark after their 50 overs. England started well but lost a few wickets in a crazy spell before it began to ran when their target was reduced to 218 and they got home with a few balls to spare.

On an overcast afternoon in London, England captain Alistair Cook won the toss and with the overhead conditions and the state of the pitch, he elected to bowl first and his striker bowler James Anderson got to work straight away. He removed Patel, Rahane and Virat Kohli as the visitors were reduced to 25-4. Rahul Dravid’s sloppy run out didn’t help them as he strolled to the danger end without realising Anderson was about to throw at the stumps.

Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni began rebuilding the Indian innings and were going about it well before Raina edged Broad to Kieswetter for 21. With the score at 58-5, Ravindra Jadeja joined his skipper at the crease. The 22 year old had only landed in the UK yesterday after a 8 hour flight from India. Despite this he and Dhoni batted sensibly and played some fine shots as they brought the score past 100. They began to frustrate the England bowlers who were on top and probably let it slip but the two Indian batsmen dug in and fought. Dhoni reached his half century before lobbing a Bresnan full toss straight to Cook to depart for a very valuable 69. Jadeja continued on despite the loss of his skipper and he was well supported by Ashwin who came in and hit some much needed boundaries. Jadeja fell in the final over for 78.

Bowling wise, England tore the Indian top order apart but became a bit complacint and let Indian back into the game. Anderson was superb and took three wickets, while Bresnan, Broad and Dernbach all took one each. India finishing on 234-7 after 50 overs.
Openers Cook and Kieswetter were making batting look easy as they once again had an opening stand of 50 before Cook played around a Munaf Patel straight one and was rightly given out LBW. Trott came in and scratched around in his usual manner but the pressure was taken off him by the explosive Kieswetter who was taking the attack to the Indian attack. He got to fifty and then got out after being clean bowled by Jadeja. Trott then fell to Ashwin for 11 and England after a great start were in a spot of bother. The rain came after 20 overs when England were 95-3, they were five runs ahead of the D/L score but that was needed as the rain stopped and they got back out onto the Oval pitch.

England were now chasing 218 to win off 43 overs and Ian Bell and youngster Ben Stokes went about reaching that target following the rain delay. They got England back on track before Ian Bell like Dravid was the victim of a sloppy run out as he was lazy in not getting back after the ball popped into the leg side, Bell advanced down the crease but Stokes sent him back as Dhoni had a go at the stumps. It was a quiet appeal but to everyone’s surprise Bell was actually short of his ground and had to depart, Stokes then fell minutes later and England were once again in trouble.

Ravi Bopara is under severe pressure to keep his England career alive but hasn’t really got the chance to shine so far in the series. He swung the momentum back in the home side’s favour with a brisk 40 and got England with Tim Bresnan in touching distance of victory but in typical Bopara fashion, he couldn’t finish the job off and was bowled by Jadeja. It wasn’t to cost England though despite Bresnan becoming Jadeja’s third victim.

Broad and Swann saw England home with a few balls to spare. They now take a 2-0 series lead into the final two games in the five games series.


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