Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly
© CricInfo
  Sourav Ganguly
© CricInfo
  Sourav Ganguly
© CricInfo

A fine all-round show

India and England played a series of six one-day internationals which produced a final result of 3-3. Perhaps it was a just result, for there was hardly anything to choose between the two sides. India ran up a 3-1 lead and looked like they were going to run away with the series, only to be stopped on their track by a defiant English side.

India started the series with a win in Kolkata. Ganguly, who has not been in the best of form for a long while, showed signs of returning to his best with a 42. In the second encounter at Cuttack, the Prince of Kolkata got a start but made just 14 runs. England won that ODI match to square the series at 1-1.

The Indian captain missed the Chennai one-dayer because of a hamstring injury. India eventually won the match in a convincing fashion to take a 2-1 lead. In Ganguly's absence, the new opening pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag caught the imagination of all cricket fans in India with their explosive batting. The little master and his protégé cracking the cricket ball to the fence with disdain meant that the Indian skipper had to relinquish his spot to the youngster from Delhi.

The selectors too threw in a surprise by dropping a struggling VVS Laxman from the team. In the absence of Rahul Dravid, the Indian middle order had a new and inexperienced look to it. Ganguly had to play with much more responsibility in the middle order to ensure that India did well.

He hit five cracking boundaries to make 26 in India's winning run chase at Kanpur. The Indian skipper had set it up by a good spell of bowling in the middle overs (5.1-0-17-2) to restrict the England score to just 218. In spite of the soreness of his hamstring, Ganguly led from the front.

India lost the last two matches of the series; by two runs at Delhi and five runs at Mumbai. Chasing a target has never been India's forte and the failure of Sachin Tendulkar did not help the cause at all. Ganguly took on the responsibility of steadying the innings and played two classy knocks to end up as the top scorer in the two games.

The Indian skipper made 74 at Delhi, which included those big sixes off Ashley Giles. At Mumbai, Ganguly was in top form, playing a very sensible innings of 80. There was a new dimension to his batting at the Wankhede Stadium, the quick singles!

Even though India lost the final two games, the only batsman who could walk with his head held high was the Indian skipper. His efforts were not translated to match-winning contributions by some sloppy batting by the middle-order and the lower-order batsmen. Ganguly finished the series on a much stronger note than what he had started it in. He had to survive a potent English attack and the pressure of people baying for his blood after some indifferent form in recent times.

The statistics reveal the true story, Ganguly scored 236 runs at an excellent average of 47.20. He did wheel his arm over with some success, picking up six wickets at 22 runs apiece. For the sheer commitment and his contribution as an allrounder and a skipper during the ODI series, it is Sourav Ganguly who is the worthy Player of the Fortnight.

Inside Stuff

Ganguly's right place is at the top of the order [More]

We have seen better teams, says Ganguly [More]

Celebrity Articles

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Ganguly scores his 3,000th Test run [Scorecard]

Ganguly scores his 7,000th ODI run [Scorecard]

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Barabati Stadium
Feroz Shah Kotla
Eden Gardens

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