England tour of India - Cricket: Onus on India to perform better in 2nd ODI

Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Cuttack: Despite the scare it got in the first of the six-match One-day series, India is most likely to persist with the same 11 in the second game at the Barabati Stadium on Tuesday against a spirited England, which is expected to be reinforced with the inclusion of experienced Graham Thorpe.Having managed to snatch a lucky win with a late fight back in the first One-dayer, the Indians will have to pull up their socks and put in a far more convincing performance.Marcus Trescothick's heroics and some erratic bowling by the Indians had almost put the visitors on course for a stunning victory but the England opener's controversial dismissal changed the complexion of the game and the home team bounced back snapping up the last six wickets for just 35 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the six-match series.The scare at the jam-packed Eden Gardens should serve as a wake-up call for captain Saurav Ganguly and his men, determined to stamp their authority in the shorter version of the game after the elements saved them some embarrassment in the Test series before Christmas.Despite having a rather inexperienced team, the Englishmen have proved that they are no push-overs and are quite capable of giving the Indians a tough task in their own backyard.The first One-dayer thus predicted things to come in the series and going by the standards in the Kolkata match, a lot of thrilling cricket looks to be in store for fans. The Indians, who have paid a heavy price for their butter fingers in the past, would have to hold on to all the chances that come their way if they want to be really successful in the One-dayers, particularly when the track favours batsmen.England's performance at the Eden Gardens also proved that the visitors, who had reached Kolkata more than a week in advance to prepare for the series, not only acclimatised to the conditions but also learnt quickly how to tackle Indian spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.The home team will, as usual, look up to Sachin Tendulkar for posting a big total and the maestro, who seems to have curbed his natural attacking instincts to some extent, will be determined to contribute in a bigger way with the bat.The opening pair of Tendulkar and Ganguly had stitched a brisk 78-run opening partnership but both batsmen could not stay at the crease for long. Ganguly, woefully short of runs in recent times, did give a fairly good account of himself in front of his home crowd with a confidence-boosting 42, showing signs of regaining his touch once again.The left-handed Dinesh Mongia showed he could make an impression at the highest level by scoring a career-best 71 and he will have to continue the good showing right through the series to make up for the absence of the dependable Rahul Dravid. The stylish V V S Laxman has more often than not failed to produce a substantial knock after getting his eye in and it is high time the Hyderabad batsman did justice to his potential. Comeback man Hemang Badani also proved he could use the bat to good effect as he chipped in with a quick fire 35 off 33 balls to prop up the Indian innings towards the end.Barring Tresocthick's brilliance, none of the other English batsmen could hang around for long enough. Hussain and Flintoff did reach the 20s but could not capitalise on the starts.They will, however, be keen to make amends at the Barabati Stadium track, which promises plenty of runs and the Indian bowlers will have to stick to a tidy length and line to contain the run flow.The visitors sorely missed the services of star batsman Graham Thorpe in the first One-dayer as he was down with a stomach bug and it is still not clear whether he will be available on Tuesday.England may go for one or two changes in the side that lost the first One-dayer by 22 runs as they will surely try to accommodate the experienced Thorpe, provided he recovers fully. The in-form Trescothick will have to shoulder the responsibility of building the innings and his brilliant 121 that came off just 109 balls will no doubt give him a lot of confidence right through the series. PTI

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