London: Yuvraj Singh was the unlikely hero of the Indian attack as England was held to 271 for seven in its triangular series One-day International at Lord's on Saturday. Singh, who had taken just 12 wickets in his previous 33 One-day Internationals, saw his occasional left-arm spin yield a career-best three for 39 in India's first match of the tournament. Marcus Trescothick top scored for England with 86 and captain Nasser Hussain made 54 for the other major contribution before the innings petered out.
Trescothick got off to a brisk start after Hussain won the toss. At the other end, left-arm quick Zaheer Khan unluckily went past the outside edge off Nick Knight's bat on a couple of occasions. England's other left-handed opener was more assured. Trescothick stroked Khan through extra cover and the modest pace of India's right-arm new ball bowler Ajit Agarkar received the same treatment. Khan and Agarkar's combined opening 12 overs went for 71 runs, Knight at last breaking free with two fours off the latter. Then the introduction of Kumble saw India take its first wicket all-be-it in unusual fashion.
Trescothick played the leg spinner down to deep square leg and set off. A single was completed but Knight, coming back for a second, could not beat Sachin Tendulkar's powerful one bounce throw that went straight into Kumble's hands. Knight was out for 31 from 42 balls with just two fours and England was 86 for one in the 14th over. Hussain came in and on 18 edged opposing captain Saurav Ganguly's medium pace through to keeper Rahul Dravid. But Dravid, who only keeps in One-day matches, dropped the catch when stood up to the wicket.
Trescothick meanwhile took a liking to the 20-year-old Yuvraj, depositing him for a huge six over long on while Hussain reverse swept Harbhajan to the boundary. But in sight of a hundred Trescothick was well caught by the helmet-wearing Dravid as he tried to run Ganguly down to third man. His 86 had come from 78 balls including one six and eight boundaries. Together with Hussain he had put on 67 in 77 balls. Trescothick's departure brought in Andrew Flintoff. The all-rounder's blistering 50 batting at seven had helped set up England's win against Sri Lanka in Thursday's opening match of the tournament.
Now promoted up the order, Flintoff carried on from where he finished at Trent Bridge, getting off the mark with a pulled four off former Lancashire team-mate Ganguly. But only two more boundaries followed before Flintoff (22) went down the wicket to Yuvraj, checked his stroke, and was well caught by a diving Dinesh Mongia at mid- off. Hussain's 54 off 82 balls failed to up the tempo. Trying to just that against Yuvraj, an ungainly offside heave saw him stumped. England was then 222 for five in the 40th over and when Yuvraj had Graham Thorpe (12) caught at short third man it never looked like topping 300.