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News Letter
Wed Jan 23 2002
Issue No: 26

Disciplined England run India aground at Cuttack

India wilted under sustained English pressure in the field as the tourists successfully defended a total of 250 in the second one-day international played at Cuttack on Tuesday.

In the morning, Sourav Ganguly put England in with the view of exploiting the early morning moisture. The visitors lost their openers cheaply, but skipper Nasser Hussain (46) and Michael Vaughan (63), who made his maiden one-day fifty, retrieved the situation. After Hussain’s dismissal, it was the turn of 24-year-old Paul Collingwood to steer the England ship to safe waters. His brisk 71, made with the aid of three fours and two sixes, saw the visitors put up 250.

India, in reply, seemed to be coasting to an easy win at 99 for one. But a freak Sachin Tendulkar run-out, followed by more ordinary ones of VVS Laxman and Dinesh Mongia, derailed the Indian chase. The stadium might have greeted the result with a deathly silence, but England had a lot to cheer about on a day that also saw their premier fast bowler, Darren Gough, go past the 150-wicket mark in one-dayers.

Hussain: Maybe we have found a theory to get Tendulkar out

Ian Botham’s advice to Nasser Hussain – to channel his anger over the Kolkata umpiring into the next game – seems to have paid off. The English skipper, predictably, was delighted with his team’s effort, praising his bowlers and fielders after the series-levelling 16-run victory at Cuttack.

"We played pretty well. Everyone fielded well and bowled well," Hussain said. He was man enough to admit that Sachin Tendulkar’s unfortunate dismissal was a pivotal one. "That was a crucial wicket," he said. "It is obviously not something we worked on, but maybe we have found a theory to get Tendulkar out," he joked.

Hussain would have liked 20 runs more on the board to defend, but he said that he was confident that India would not find the chase easy. "Once you get a score on the board, there are going to be 12 men on the field - one of them is pressure. We needed the wicket of Tendulkar - that was a bit of luck - but after, that we were exceptional." The English skipper was even sure that his players could have done better, since a couple of catches were dropped in the midst of all that fine fielding. "We have got to keep the dropped slip catches down. If you drop Sachin Tendulkar once, that is 100 runs gone."

The Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly meanwhile said that his team should have reached the target after Tendulkar's "freak" dismissal, but felt that the inexperience of some of the players showed. "We should obviously have chased it. But inexperience showed up a bit. It was a bit of a tough situation," said Ganguly.

Cricket holiday sits uneasy in some quarters

India is admittedly the most cricket-crazy nation on earth, but there do exist Indians who draw the line at declaring a public holiday on the day of a cricket match. The Tamil Nadu government recently declared January 25 as a holiday in Chennai and two other districts in view of the third India-England one-dayer scheduled to be played at Chepauk. But a city advocate was quick to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), claiming that the state’s order was "arbitrary, illegal, and in violation of Article 21 of the constitution." The public, S Sathia Chandran contended, would be denied access to their respective administrative offices. Even the declaration of February 9 as a compensatory working day in lieu of this unexpected holiday did not seem to satisfy him; the petitioner all but predicted the end of the world, saying that the order would have serious repercussions on the productivity of the state, leading to irreparable loss. Phew!

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The first day of the fourth Test at Adelaide in 1948 saw Don Bradman punish the Indian attack to make 201 in 272 minutes, hitting 21 fours and a six. Bradman and Sid Barnes (112) dominated the first day, while Lindsay Hassett (198) sparkled on the second, spurring Australia to a win by an innings and 16 runs.

With some much-needed English bulldog spirit, the visitors have fought back to level the one-day series in the second match, and suddenly India's fragile superstars seem less preferable to England's no-glitz-just-guts cricketers. The action now shifts to Chennai, but you can follow it at your usual venue -

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Paul Collingwood
Cuttack Man of the Match
© Reuters

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"250 wasn't enough, but there will always be pressure chasing. Pressure does funny things to different sides. Our boys took their chances." Nasser Hussain

"We lost wickets at bad times when we were looking to push on, but me and Jeremy (Snape) ran well between the wickets. We needed 250 and we did it, just." Paul Collingwood

"Chasing 250 should never have been a problem for an Indian batting packed with supermen, but they messed it up. It would be ironic if the sixth one-dayer that the BCCI insisted on - Cuttack - proved to be a series-winning one for England." Aarthi Shukla

When Darren Gough had Anil Kumble caught by Paul Collingwood, he became the first Englishman and 29th overall to take 150 one-day international wickets. He took his tally to 151 in the same match by having Ajit Agarkar caught behind.

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