India draw level despite Mascarenhas scare

Published: Saturday, August 25, 2007, 0:00 [IST]
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Sachin Tendulkar's 99 set up India's nine-run victory against England at Nevil Road here Friday which saw them level the seven-match one-day international series at 1-1.

Tendulkar's innings was the centrepiece of India's record 329 for seven against England.

In reply, the hosts got close with 320 for eight - England's highest total batting second in a one-day international.

Ian Bell top-scored with 64 and all-rounder Dimtri Mascarenhas, whose previous-best score was five, later kept England in the hunt when it seemed they were out of the game with a 36-ball fifty featuring five sixes and a four before he holed out for 52.

Stuart Broad weighed in with 29 not out off 24 balls.

Teenage leg-spinner Piyush Chawla took three for 60 and pace bowler Munaf Patel three for 70.

"It was a relief to win after losing the first match," said India skipper Rahul Dravid who made 92 not out.

"It was a very good wicket and a good game but the boundaries are a little too small for a captain's liking. We batted very well and our spinners bowled beautifully.

"They contained their batsmen and that helped win us the game."

England captain Paul Collingwood added: "When you are chasing down a total like that you need everything to go right for you. We needed someone to go and get a hundred.

"There are a lot of positives we can take from nearly chasing down that total. It was a great game of cricket."

Tendulkar was in dominating form, facing just 112 balls with one six and 15 fours as India surpassed their previous best against England of 326 for eight at Lord's in 2002.

Dravid, the man-of-the-match, followed up in style facing a mere 63 balls with one six and 11 fours.

Fast bowler Andrew Flintoff led England's attack with five for 56 - the first time he'd taken five wickets in a one-day international.

England saw openers Alastair Cook and Matt Prior get them off to a flyer with the first eight overs yielding 60 runs.

But first change Patel, in for 'flu victim Zaheer Khan, checked England's progress with two wickets in two balls.

Then Chawla and off-spinner Ramesh Powar struck.

Prior, on 33, skied to Dravid at mid-off before Cook, was caught behind by Mahendra Singh Dhoni to leave England 76 for two in the 11th over.

India, however, didn't help themselves by dropping several catches.

Bell, on one, saw a cut off left-arm quick Rudra Pratap Singh go straight to third man only for Powar to put the chance down.

Key batsman Kevin Pietersen was twice missed on 11. Wicket-keeper Dhoni, standing up, failed to hold a thin edge off Sourav Ganguly. And two balls later the medium-pacer floored a low caught and bowled chance.

But Chawla had a wicket second ball when his googly clean bowled Pietersen for 25. And he bowled Collingwood in similar style for 27.

Flintoff, off the mark with a first-ball four through extra-cover off Chawla went for nine when he hoisted off-spinner Powar to Ajit Agarkar at deep square leg.

England had dropped their lone specialist spinner Monty Panesar but India's decision to bring in Powar alongside Chawla looked a wise move.

Bell, who like Cook had made his maiden one-day international century in England's 104-run win at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday, completed a 76-ball fifty with six fours before he skied Chawla to Patel.

Tendulkar was earlier out in the 90s for the third time in five one-day internationals after making 99 and 93 against South Africa in Belfast in June.

It was a controversial exit with a Flintoff ball coming off Tendulkar's elbow before it was spectacularly caught by wicket-keeper Prior.

Tendulkar had been particularly severe on Chris Tremlett with the fast bowler's nine overs costing 73 runs.

Flintoff ended a first-wicket stand worth 113 when Ganguly, on 39, saw a miscued drive lob gently to Collingwood, running back from point.

Dravid, who won the toss, kept the runs coming with his best shot a cut six off James Anderson.

The series continues at Edgbaston on Monday.

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