Rajkot, Jan 11: In a high-scoring thriller, England held their nerve to edge India by 9 runs in the opening One Day International here at Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Stadium on Friday night. England took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Offspinner James Tredwell was the bowling hero for the tourists with his career best figures of 4/44 in 10 overs. Chasing 326, India fell short by 9 runs, finishing at 316/9 in 50 overs. Tredwell dismissed Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina. Raina's wicket was crucial in the 42nd over. Tredwell won the Man-of-the-match award. On a day of bat's dominance over ball, the 30-year-old Tredwell was outstanding.
Today's victory was England's first success against India in India after 13 ODIs since April 12, 2006.
In the final 20 overs, India needed 150 runs with seven wickets in hand and Yuvraj playing well. That equation became tougher in the last 60 balls with 95 required. In the last five India had to score 53 with only three batsmen left.
The turning point was the 45th over with India needing 57 off 36. Jade Dernbach was expensive in his first 8 overs but came back to derail India's chase. He conceded 57 runs for no wicket in 8. But captain Alastair Cook brought him on to bowl the 45th over and the right-arm paceman turned the match by claiming the big wicket of MS Dhoni and also added Ravindra Jadeja's scalp.
Dhoni, one of the best finishers in ODIs, was setting himself up for yet another flourish. He smashed 4 sixes in his 25-ball 32 but perished to a catch at long-off and with his departure India's victory hopes extinguished. Dhoni failed to clear the field off a Dernbach's back-of-the-hand slower ball.
Dernbach also bowled the final over with England already on the brink of victory with 18 needed of 6 balls and one wicket remaining.
Earlier, Gambhir and Rahane provided India a good start. Gambhir (52) reached to his half century but Rahane was out for 47. Yuvraj hit big shots in his 54-ball 61. Raina too scored a fifty.
The second match of the series is in Kochi on January 15. The game starts at 12 noon.
England post 325/4
England powered their way to 325/4 in 50 overs against India in the opening ODI here on Friday. First, Ian Bell (85) and captain Alastair Cook (75) were involved in a record 158-run stand for the opening wicket. In the final five overs, it was the blitz of Samit Patel (20-ball 44 not out) that catapulted the visitors past 300.
The pitch was perfect for batting. Bell and Cook cashed in. However, India bowlers came back with quick wickets but the aggressive finish from Samit neutralised the little advantage that India had. Cook-Bell association of 158 runs is the best for England against India, beating a 30-year-old mark.
India had to wait till the 28th over to get their first wicket. Cook and Bell played their shots right from the start and the hosts got their breakthrough via a run out when Bell was dismissed. Bell struck his 24th ODI fifty striking nine fours and one six. Cook registered his 14th half century with his knock containing 11 fours and a six. Left-handed Cook fell to the part-time offspin of Suresh Raina.
With 158 runs on the board for the first wicket and looking good for a score nearing 350, England seemed to stutter in the the final 10 overs after the quick exits of Eoin Morgan (41) and Kevin Pietersen (44). But England found a hero in Samit as he blazed his way to 44 in a jiffy with six fours and a six.
Ashok Dinda had Morgan and Pietersen in successive overs but Ishant Sharma had a forgettable day, being plundered for 86 runs in 10 non-successful overs. He had bowled two maidens. The lanky fast bowler, bowling his final over and 49th of England, was thrashed for 20, best in visitors' innings.
Offspinner R Ashwin also endured a fruitless day with 0/61 in nine overs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar too was expensive with 0/52 in seven. Raina was the most economical with 1/18 in five.
England scored 64 runs in the final five overs. Samit and Craig Kieswetter (24 not out) finished with an unbroken 70-run partnership for the fifth wicket in just 6.1 overs.
India's highest successful ODI chase at home is 325/5 against West Indies in 2002. They have to go one run better for new chasing record. However, India's highest successful chase against England in ODIs is 326/8 at Lord's in 2002.
Toss: England opt to bat
England won the toss and elected to bat first against India in the opening One Day International of the five-match series here on Friday.
England have handed ODI debut to young right-hand batsman Joe Root. India made one change from last game, bringing back Ashok Dinda in place of Shami Ahmed.
It was a surprise as Shami had did a fine job in his debut game against Pakistan in Delhi last week. Right-arm medium paceman Shami had outstanding bowling figures of 9-4-23-1 in his first international game but now finds himself out of the team.
India will be looking to bounce back after the 1-2 series defeat against Pakistan last week. When England toured India last time, in 2011, they were whitewashed 5-0 in ODI series.
Newly built Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium is making its international debut today. The stadium is located in Khandheri, about 10 kilometres away from Rajkot.
Commentators Ravi Shastri and Wasim Akram, in their pitch report for TV, said the wicket will produce scores in excess of 300 runs. "It is a proper national highway," said Shastri.
India: MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashok Dinda.
England: Alastair Cook (captain), Joe Root, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Craig Kieswetter (wicketkeeper), Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Kevin Pietersen, James Tredwell.
Umpires: Steve Davis (Australia) and S Ravi
Third umpire: Vineet Kulkarni
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe)
Match starts at 12 noon (IST)