Ruthless India crush England after Yuvraj ton

Published: Friday, November 14, 2008, 16:50 [IST]
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England slumped to their third biggest one-day defeat by runs as India won the first game of the seven-match series by 158 runs here on Friday.

Yuvraj Singh smashed an unbeaten 138 off 78 balls to lift India to their second highest one-day total of 387-5 after being sent in to bat at the Madhavrao Scindia stadium.

England managed only 229 in reply in perfect batting conditions despite a classy 63 by skipper Kevin Pietersen and Ravi Bopara's unbeaten 54 off 38 balls lower down the order.

The tourists were in danger of falling below their worst ever one-day loss by 165 runs before Bopara's late charge, which included five sixes and two fours, saved Pietersen's men the blushes.

England twice have lost by 165 runs, once to the West Indies in 1994 and again to Pakistan in 2005. They were beaten by 162 runs by Australia in 1999.

India, who stunned world champions Australia 2-0 in a Test series on Monday, switched quickly to the one-day mode to reduce England to 38-4 by the 11th over with seamer Zaheer Khan claiming three wickets.

Left-handed Yuvraj, who batted with a runner because of a back injury in the early part of his innings, hammered 16 boundaries and six sixes in his ninth one-day century.

Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir set up the big total with a whirlwind opening stand of 120 by the 20th over.

Sehwag struck a typically belligerent 85 off 73 balls with 10 boundaries and three sixes.

The left-handed Gambhir, who top-scored against Australia with 463 runs in three Tests, continued his good form to make 51 with the help of eight fours.

Yuvraj put on 89 for the third wicket with Suresh Raina (43) and 105 for the fifth with skipper Mahendra Dhoni (39) as India plundered 124 runs in the final 10 overs.

It was India's highest total against a major cricketing nation -- they made 376-2 against New Zealand in 1999 -- although their best ever is 413-5 against Bermuda at the 2007 World Cup.

The match was the first for both teams under new one-day rules that give the batting team the option of choosing five overs of power-play where just three fielders are allowed outside the circle.

India took theirs between the 35th and 39th overs and scored 41 runs for the loss of Raina's wicket.

England chose the 34th over to start their power-play after seven wickets had fallen and defeat looked inevitable.

Earlier, only the fielding team could pick the power-plays that give batsmen a chance to play lofted shots in the open spaces outside the circle.

Steve Harmison and Samit Patel picked up two wickets each, while paceman Stuart Broad conceded 74 runs in 10 unsuccessful overs.

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