AR Hemant

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Somewhat of a contrarion.

1st ODI: Chester-le-Street

(Note to readers: we will post live match updates, analysis and expert views through the course of the first ODI between India and England. New updates will appear on top. Please hit the refresh button periodically)


Question for readers: What does India need to finally beat England on this tour?


The match has been rained off. India's first win over England on this tour will have to wait. India took steps forward in this game with the refreshing batting of Parthiv, Rahane and Kohli. But the injuries to Rohit and Tendulkar have brought them back to the wretched situation they've been in throughout this tour.

From here on, India have nothing to play with but the strength of their character. Any positives, any wins, India can achieve from this point — having lost eight of their first choice players — is a bonus. This blog will join you again for the second ODI. Till then, goodnight.

Kohli consoles Parthiv after he missed a hundred. Kohli consoles Parthiv after he missed a hundred.

Kohli consoles Parthiv after he missed a hundred.

From a distance, Parthiv and Virat might seem like two teenagers who've strayed into a game of grown-ups. Short stature, tall deeds today.

Meanwhile, rain has interrupted play with England 27-2. Praveen Kumar continues to enthral with his steady pace and sharp movement. The left-handed Cook chopped on an in-swinger. The right-handed Kieswetter was plumb in-front to an in-swinger. In between these, Trott has played a couple of gorgeous drives.

Rohit, we learn, has broken a finger so it's highly unlikely he'll play any part in this series. With Tendulkar's toe injury, India are now two batsmen short.

The idea should be to bring in players from the Emerging Players tour. Rahane and Varun Aaron are already in England. India's other top batsmen there were Manish Pandey (162 runs), Manoj Tiwary (306 runs), Saurabh Tiwary (229 runs) and Shikhar Dhawan (205).


They were 179-2 in 35 overs, with the batting Powerplay left. But with the sort of wretched form India are in, you'd expect the slow-scoring valley to arrive after the quick-scoring peak overs. England need 275. There's no explanation yet for Dravid's bizarre dismissal, nor a word on Rohit's finger injury.


Gambhir, Sehwag, Tendulkar, Rohit, Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Praveen, Zaheer, Ishant. All India now need is a wicketkeeper and a specialist batsman to complete a XI of players injured on the tour of England.

Parthiv has fallen on 95. Rohit Sharma has retired hurt, possibly with a finger dislocated by a bouncer from Broad. Kohli compiled an excellent fifty, adding 103 with Parthiv, before chopping Samit Patel on.

Kohli and Parthiv brought the elements missing from India's batting. There was excellent strike rotation, aggressive stroke-play and domination of the England attack.

India are yet to claim the batting Powerplay. They should have gone for it with Parthiv and Kohli going strong.

Parthiv Patel pulls one away on the way to his highest ODI score. Parthiv Patel pulls one away on the way to his highest ODI score.

Parthiv Patel pulls one away on the way to his highest ODI score.

Parthiv Patel has played an extra-ordinary innings here, carving England's bowling to both sides of the wicket. He's always has great timing, and he's begun finding gaps with great efficiency after a slowish start of 14 in 31 balls.

Stuart Broad has been bowling to him with three men back on the leg-side fence. There's a fine-leg, a deep square-leg and a midwicket. And Parthiv hasn't shied away from the pull and hook. He's just pulled Bresnan for two fours in front of square leg.

Who would have given Parthiv a chance after his keeping skills went for a toss and a long-haired axeman appeared out of Ranchi?

Yet, here he is, holding his own in the country he had made his debut as a 17-year-old. Not as a wicketkeeper but as a specialist opener. He's only 26 and he's had the time to reinvent his game.

Parthiv didn't play an ODI for six years, till he made a comeback last year against New Zealand. He has done alright. 11 innings, four fifties, a 46, a 38, all opening the batting.

Ajinkya Rahane lofts on his way to 40 on ODI debut. Ajinkya Rahane lofts on his way to 40 on ODI debut.

Ajinkya Rahane lofts on his way to 40 on ODI debut.

We're 18 overs into the game and there's a DRS controversy already. Dravid came in for Ajinkya Rahane, who'd fallen after a delectable 40 full of flowing drives and lofts.

So Broad bowls to Dravid and appeals for a caught-behind. Dravid stands his ground. Billy Doctrove says not-out. Broad calls for a review.

In the replay, the ball shows no deviation off the bat. HotSpot shows nothing. Snicko registers a sound — but remember, it's not in use for the DRS. TV umpire Marais Erasmus relays some information to Doctrove who decides to give it out. Shocking.

Dravid walks off shaking his head. Where is the conclusive evidence that this is out? Dravid returns to the dressing room and heads straight to the monitor to see the replay.

Just yesterday, your blogger had written that you need to ask technology the right questions to get the right answers. It seems technology has been failed by human intervention again.

On Twitter, @Crownish says: Dravid Removal System.

Cook and Dhoni pose with the Natwest Trophy. Cook and Dhoni pose with the Natwest Trophy.

Cook and Dhoni pose with the Natwest Trophy.

Pardon me if this blog gets off on a pessimistic note. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for India so far in England. As we had said, some of it has to do with silly selection.

Ravindra Jadeja is named Gautam Gambhir's replacement. This is like Australia replacing Mathew Hayden with Nathan Hauritz. What's the word on the player who, last season, scored three of the most brutal hundreds you will ever see? After a 37-ball 100 in the IPL, a 96-ball 123 against New Zealand and that incredible 70-ball 105 in Centurion, Yusuf Pathan gets dropped when he's on the rise.

Barring Praveen Kumar's tireless spells and Rahul Dravid's resolve, this tour has been woefully devoid of happy moments for India. Now, on the morning of the first ODI, Sachin Tendulkar rules himself out with an injured toe. The good news, however, is that Ajinkya Rahane gets a much-deserved chance.

Meanwhile, here's Michael Vaughan fuelling a raging fire on Twitter. "Just seen Nasser said Indians have a couple of Donkeys in the field... How wrong can he be!!!! I have seen at least 4..."

Nasser Hussain may well have been referring to the slow-footedness of Indian fielders when he used the 'D' word. Indian fans have decided Hussain meant to call them slow-witted. Vaughan keeps baiting them on Twitter. People keep taking the bait. And so it goes.

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