England cricket team may complain about the heat they had to counter while playing the test and one day series in India, but they can thank Indian cricket board for one thing - See nearly whole of India. That too free of cost!!
England team started from Nagpur in Maharashtra, traveled to East like Delhi and Faridabad, then to western part of India like Mumbai and Goa, then to South like Kochi, then to North like Guwahati and Jamshedpur and they will be finishing the Indian tour at nearly the centre of India - Indore. Indore is situated in Madhya Pradesh (which means central state in Country in Hindi). Not a bad scheduled tour.... It just didn't had some Day/Night matches, otherwise it seems a well planned tour. Isn't it??
Indore has been hosting cricket matches for a while now. In fact, this 7th and last ODI between India and England will be the 10th that Indore people will witness, but it is not scheduled at the Nehru Stadium. This 7th one dayer will be played at "Maharani Usharaje Trust Cricket Stadium", also in Indore. So after 9 One day matches, Indore city will be showcasing another cricket ground, which is tipped to be full of Green out field and the best batting pitch of the series.
The Curator - Samandar Singh says that fans wants four and sixes and that is what he has concentrated while preparing the Indore pitch. "I believe people come to ODIs to watch the blizkriegs from the likes of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj rather than an Irfan Pathan taking a five-wicket haul"... right kind of attitude for a curator, isn't it!!
As far as the weather is concerned, England players may breath little easy as Indore is not as hot as Kochi or Jamshedpur were. The weather report for 7th ODI at Indore on 15th of April says that temperature will be at a maximum of 37 degrees and a minimum of 22 degrees with a "partly cloudy " sky. As it will be the first International match at Maharani Usharaje Trust Cricket Stadium - the home ground of Mohammad Kaif who also plays for Madhya Pradesh in Domestic cricket, I hope he knows the conditions and will be able to make some runs to keep his place in Indian team. I feel Team India needs him and he better come back into some kind of form before the Abu Dhabi ODI's against Pakistan..!!
Another speciality of this last one dayer against England could be the Young Karnataka opener - Robin Uthappa. He is not only a distructive batsman, but is a very good fielder - something in the league of Raina and Yuvraj. So lets just wait and watch if Uthappa makes his debut on 15th or April.
Match Day - 15th April.
Its always been the trend in cricket that if pitch is not having too much for the bowlers - Always win the toss and bat first. Specially in one day cricket. It always was recommended that you first make as much as you can, and defend them later on. But.....
Cricket has changed. So has Indian team. And so has the famous trends. Team India had won 15 consecutive ODI matches while chasing a target, and probably that's why, Captain Dravid had no hesitation in calling England to bat first - on a very good... or I should say flat wicket at Indore.
England started tentatively, making 40 runs for the opening partnership, when Sreesanth got Strauss and Prior in quick time. England fell to 47 for 2 in 12 overs, but the storm had just arrived. Kevin Pietersen - came down the track again and again, to probably the fastest bowler in Indian ranks - VRV Singh and shuffled across the stumps time and again to pump England's run rate over six an over and England started to look good for a very good total. Paul Collingwood has been batting very well right throughout this series and he did very well in this last one dayer as well. But...
India had been playing with five regular bowlers quite regularly now and that made sure England couldn't accelerate enough. Although they got two sixes in the 42nd over from Ramesh Powar, the lacked the fire power and ended up making 288 off 50 over. Last man Mahmood was out of the last ball.
Indian batting was full of confidence. Uthappa was batting for the first time and played well. He was coming on the front foot even before the ball was bowled, but England had seen nothing of him - so they missed the trick of bowling short balls to him.
At the other end, Captain and Karnataka mate - Rahul Dravid was mentoring young Uthappa very well and the duo didn't looked like getting out. England bowling was lacking spine and Indian opener little too good for them. The opening partnership was broken due to some sloppy running by Uthappa when he thought the return from fielder won't come to his end and took it easy while making his ground.
But after the loss of first two wickets at 165 and 166 respectively, India had yet another century partnership between Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina and that sealed the match for them. An easily done chase to say the least!!
Interesting facts from the match -
1) First the biggest of them all - India won the 16th consecutive one day International while chasing a target. They already have broken the 22 year old record of 14 consecutive successful chase by West Indies.
2) Robin Uthappa became the 165th player to represent India in one day cricket and he now holds the record of highest score by a debutant in any match featuring India. He made 86 off 96 balls. The previous best was 82 by Brijesh Patel against England at Leeds. I am sure that you remember about Yuvraj Singh who scored 84 runs in his first One day innings. But that was his second match. He didn't batted in his debut ODI.
3) S Sreesanth's Man of the Match(first time in 13 ODIs) figures of 6 for 55 is the fourth best by an Indian bowler. The best is 6 for 23 by Ashish Nehra in 2003 World Cup match against England.
4) VRV Singh now holds the record of bowling most expensive spell in ODI cricket by an Indian. 26 in a single over. VRV Singh's that over in this 7th ODI read - 6 4 4nb 1 1nb 0 4 4, 23 of them were hit by Kevin Pietersen himself. Anil Kumble had the same figures against Pakistan at Madras in May 1997.
Yuvraj Singh was adjudged man of the series for the third consecutive time. He was the player of the series against South Africa in November, against Pakistan in February and now against England in April.