Hyderabad, Oct 14: A young India finally broke their prolonged losing streak as they trounced England by 127 runs in a lop-sided first cricket one-dayer here today.
India rode on Dhoni's blistering 87-run knock and Suresh Raina's 55-ball 61 to post a mammoth 330 for seven and then skittled out the visitors for only 174 runs in 36.1 overs Rajiv Gandhi International stadium to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. This was India's first victory after a losing streak of 10 international matches that includes five ODIs (last two ODIs in West Indies), four Tests and one T20 international.
The wicket got slower with passage of time and India's newest spin-twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja tightened the noose on England batsmen sharing six wickets between them. The margin of victory should come as whiff of fresh air for Dhoni and Co who would now certainly feel upbeat with four ODIs remaining. Craig Kieswetter (7) was the first to depart when he nicked at an away going delivery from Praveen Kumar.
Kevin Pietersen (19) hit three boundaries but Ashwin's direct throw from mid-on found him short of his crease. Skipper Alastair Cook (60) joined hands with Jonathan Trott (26) and added 71 runs for the third wicket. They didn't score at a very brisk pace but kept decent run-rate going for their team. It was slow left-arm spin of Jadeja that started the slide.
The Saurashtra all-rounder dismissed Cook and Trott within a space of nine runs to effect a middle-order collapse. While Cook was holed out in the deep mid-wicket trying to give Jadeja the charge, Trott played an uncharacteristic slog sweep, obly to be clean bowled.
"Yesterday in the evening, I saw there was a fair bit of dew but today fortunately there wasn't any dew. That really helped our cause. Also the dryness in the outfield offered a bit of reverse swing as well," Dhoni explained.
He lauded young Ravindra Jadeja's effort as the all-rounder scored a quick 27 and then grabbed three wickets for 34 runs. "Jadeja is an important player as he brings in a lot of stability to the side," Dhoni said. This series has been billed as a 'revenge series' but Dhoni chose to play down the issue.
"I believe revenge is a very strong word. If you look at the England series especially the second half, we did play well. We scored runs but unfortunately there were rain interruptions and the ball used to become heavier and tougher for our bowlers to grip.
"This is a series where the idea is to groom the youngsters. Also this win came after a long time and it was an important win. You can't enjoy playing the game if you lose too many matches," the skipper said candidly. About the new Powerplay rule, Dhoni said, "It was important for us to rotate the strike initially.
There was a bit of uneven bounce but I won't say too much. The new Powerplay means that even if you take it in the 36th over, still you have 10 overs left. Therefore, you can't go all out. "I reckon 250-260 would have been a good score and in the end we got 300.
"Dhoni ruled out the idea that he would depend more on spin to counter the English batsmen as the visitors have found it uncomfortable. "Had it been April or May when it's dry and humid with the pitches offering lot of turn, I would have said that I would go with three spinners and two seamers.
But in these circumstances when we are approaching winter season, we still don't know whether their will be dew in Delhi and Mohali," he reasoned. (First innings report)