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Saturday, November 15, 2008

India draw first blood

Yuvraj Singh celebrates after scoring century, his 138 not out to help India crush England by 158 runs. Yuvraj Smashed 15 fours and six sixes in his innings

Yuvraj Singh blasted 138 not out to help India crush England by 158 runs in the opening match of the one-day series in Rajkot.The left-hander hammered 15 fours and six sixes in his whirlwind 78-ball innings as the hosts reached a massive 387-5 after being put into bat.Virender Sehwag contributed a rapid 85 at the top of the order as all of England's bowlers suffered at the hands of the Indian batsmen on a postage stamp-sized ground.Only Kevin Pietersen (63) and Ravi Bopara (54 not out) offered any sort of resistance in reply, as the tourists were bowled out for just 229.The margin of defeat only just avoided England's heaviest ever - that being 165 runs against West Indies in St Vincent 14 years ago and then against Pakistan at Karachi in 2005.
Having been embarrassed in their final warm-up fixture against a Mumbai select side they were overwhelmed by India and an in-form Yuvraj in particular.His ninth limited overs century, made despite a back injury, was the fastest ever against England, who conceded their biggest ever one-day totalThe foundations had been built up front by an opening stand of 127 between Gautam Gambhir and Sehwag which made a mockery of captain Pietersen's decision to bowl first after winning the toss.In the end Samit Patel got rid of both openers, firstly Gambhir when the left-hander drove straight down the throat of Owais Shah at long-off having made 51 off 62 balls.The spinner also saw off Sehwag, who having hit a six and two fours in the over perished to a fine, one-handed diving catch by Ian Bell at mid-wicket when trying to find the boundary again.Despite the duo departing within the space of 26, the damage had been done. Suresh Raina continued where they left off with 43 from 44 deliveries before Yuvraj took over.Not even the previously economical Flintoff, whose first five overs had conceded just 17, was spared in the closing stages, the all-rounder's final over going for 18, as India amassed an amazing 124 in the last 10.Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni contributed 39 in a fifth-wicket partnership of 105 off 58 balls before being bowled by Steve Harmison.Having seen their bowlers suffer in the sunshine, England's batsmen failed to learn the lessons from their opponents, starting with getting off to a good start.By the end of the 11th over they had subsided to 38-4, Munaf Patel starting the top-order collapse when he had Matt Prior caught at first slip in the fourth over.
First One Day International Rajkot
India 387-5 (Yuvraj Singh 138 no, V Sehwag 85, G Gambhir 51) vs
England 229 (K P Pietersen 63, R S Bopara 54 no)
Man of the Match: Yuvraj Singh, India
India beat England by 158 runs


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