Keenan Cricket Stadium in Jamshedpur is known for its lush green out field, good hard pitch, extremely hot conditions and bad luck for Indian team. And this time Keenan stadium disappointed in none of it. Temperature was hotter than 50 degrees on the cricket field, ground was like a green sleeping bed, pitch was harder than Indians would have wanted and they batted first to make the matter worst.
India had made so many changes in their playing eleven that I feel tough to mention. From the last team that played at Kochi - Dravid, Irfan, Ajit Agarkar and Sreesanth were replaced by Venu Gopal Rao, Munaf Patel, VRV Singh and R P Singh. All of them have very, very little experience of one day cricket and that showed in this Jamshedpur ODI.
Virendra Sehwag is struggling as a batsman and he had the added responsibility to captain the side. A side that has won 7 one day internationals in a row and had all the integrand's to make it 8th consecutive win (the best ever by an Indian side). Pitch had no swing, but some bounce that England bowlers exploited nicely and Indian batsmen helped them with some careless shots. After Sehwag, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Mohammad Kaif did had a partnership of 42 runs - at a quick rate as well, but after that, "Tu Chal Main Aaya" system started. Result - India 79 for 5.
Then we saw something that has been the biggest plus point in Indian cricket of late - Fighting spirit. Dhoni mixed his aggregation with singles very well and found a surprise partner in Ramesh Powar. Powar has always been considered as a OK batsman, but he had never shown anything substantial in International cricket so far. And If you see the highlights of this 6th ODI at Jamshedpur, you will find Powar displaying some unusual batting style. Powar played 83 balls and I assure you that he came down the track at least 40 times - and always looked in control. He wasn't trying to hit every ball out of the ground, but wanted to disturb the bowlers length and did succeed enough to make 54 - his first half century in ODI cricket.
Dhoni was looking good when he was given a "Ice Bag" during the second drinks break. His back started to look like a "camel" when he took his stance for the first time after that - and gave an easy catch to Vikram Solanki at short mid wicket. Dhoni's dismissal in this Jamshedpur ODI was more because of that bag than the beauty of that ball from Sajid Mehmood.
Dhoni got out at a very bad time from an Indian perspective. He was looking good and was striking the ball well enough to clear the field easily. His dismissal costed at least 50 runs to India and result - India all out for 223.
England did everything that Indians didn't do while batting - make partnership at the top of order. England had an opening partnership of 107 - thanks to some good batting mixed with some inexperienced bowling from VRV singh and bad bowling from R P Singh. It was hard to understand why this boy - who used to bowl so accurately in Pakistan, struggled to bowl at decent delivery today and when Pace bowlers don't take wickets, spinner couldn't turn it around for India and they lost the match quite convincingly in the end. Here is the score cards.
India vs Pakistan at Abu Dhabi.
Schedule of India vs West Indies in May.
Dinesh Karthik selected for Indore ODI.