World of Sport

England batsmen flop yet again

Saturday 19th January 2013 9:56

Alastair Cook: Went for 17 as England struggled again

Alastair Cook: Went for 17 as England struggled again

England's batsmen failed for the second match in a row as they were bundled out for just 155 in the third one-day international against India.

The first ever international match in Ranchi, the home city of India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, was proving much to the hosts' liking at the halfway stage, with England losing regular wickets in momentum-sapping clusters.

Dhoni chose to send England in and was rewarded by his bowlers, who reduced England to 98 for six after a slow start and finished the job with 7.4 overs remaining.

Joe Root's 39 was the best England managed as they made three fewer than their previous losing effort in Kochi.

Although the potential for evening dew surely played a part in Dhoni's decision at the toss, there was still an element of bravery in it after both previous game's were won by the side batting first.

But his bowlers soon backed him up.

The first four overs cost just seven as Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed bowled with good control in friendly conditions.

Alastair Cook found release with a couple of driven boundaries but Ian Bell managed just one run, off the outside edge, in his first 18 deliveries.

India struck in the eighth over, Cook pinned lbw for 17 by the nagging Kumar, and at the end of the 10-over powerplay England were struggling at 36 for one.

A flurry of runs followed, Bell hitting successive boundaries off Kumar and Kevin Pietersen matching him with a pair of fours from Ishant Sharma's first over.

Pietersen had successfully upped the scoring rate with 17 from 20 balls but he was a little loose outside off and paid the price when Sharma had him caught behind.

Replays suggest Pietersen may have been unlucky, but his exaggerated reaction and slow exit will not have pleased the officials.

A score of 68 for two became 68 for three when Bell nicked the returning Kumar and Dhoni held on to a sharp chance standing up to the stumps.

England were in strife.

Eoin Morgan took some of the sting out of the situation in a 30-ball stay, but had only added 10 when he botched a reverse sweep against Ravichandran Ashwin and offered a dolly to Yuvraj Singh.

Root had seemed composed at the other end but he could do nothing about England's woeful position when Craig Kieswetter and Samit Patel fell to Ravindra Jadeja within seconds of each other.

Both made ducks and both failed to pick Jadeja's arm ball as India snared three wickets in nine balls.

Root moved past 20 as England finally crawled into three figures, with his county team-mate Tim Bresnan next in after returning to the side in place of Chris Woakes.

The pair worked hard to muster a total worth bowling at, adding 47 for the seventh wicket before the batting powerplay accounted for both.

But Root again served notice of his cool head, hitting four boundaries and lasting 57 deliveries before nicking Sharma to the tumbling Dhoni.

Again one wicket brought two, Bresnan gone four balls later for 25 as Ashwin got one to turn unusually sharply between pat and pad.

England reached the last 10 overs at 152 for eight having added just 20 from the powerplay, and harboured no real prospects of reaching the 50-over mark.

Indeed, just three more runs were added as Suresh Raina and Jadeja mopped up Steven Finn and Jade Dernbach with minimal fuss.

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