India hits back with vengeance as Raina and Rahane destroy England

suresh kumar raina








Suresh Kumar Raina


By Kersi Meher-Homji

The Indian cricket team currently in England provides a roller-coaster ride, a cryptic puzzle.   On top one day, in a bottomless pit the next month and on a Himalayan peak a week later.

This is how their fortunes have swayed:

  • Defeated England in the Lord’s Test in July.
  • Lost to England by huge margins in the next three Tests making shockingly poor totals of 178, 152, 161, 148 and 94. They were beaten by individual England batsmen; Gary Balance scoring 156, Ian Bell 167 and Joe Root 149 not out.
  • Blasted England 3-0 (with one match still to be played on Friday) in the one-day international (ODI) series.

Let us accentuate the positives. I mean the ODIs.

What happened to turn disasters into triumphs for the Indians? I can pinpoint it in two words; Suresh Raina.

Omitted from the Test squad, the gregarious run-getter and Man of the Match (MoM) Raina scored a hurricane hundred off 75 balls smashing 12 fours and three sixes at Cardiff. With skipper MS Dhoni (52) he added 144 spectacular runs as India totalled 6 for 304.

Raina demonstrated to the disheartened demoralized Indian batsmen that England’s bowlers were no demons.








Ravindra Jadeja

Spinner Ravindra Jadeja took 4 for 28 and India won the second ODI by 133 runs. The first ODI was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to heavy rains.

With their morale high, India won the third ODI at Nottingham by 6 wickets. MoM Ravichandran Ashwin spun the ball viciously to grab 3 for 39 and England was dismissed for 227. India replied with 4 for 228 (Ambati Rayudu 64) and India triumphed again with 42 balls remaining to lead 2-0 in the series.

Will India continue their dream run or go back to their “evil ways” in their next ODI in Birmingham?

Certainly not so! They were at their dazzling best. After dismissing England for 206 (fast-medium Mohammad Shami taking 3 for 28) Indian openers Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan batted magnificently to put on 183 runs for the first wicket.









Ajinkya Rahane

MoM Rahane hit his maiden ODI century (106 off 100 balls, embellished with 10 fours and 4 sixes). Left-handed Dhawan matched him stroke for stroke as he scored an unbeaten 97 off only 81 balls, belting 11 fours and 4 sixes. He ended the match by skying a six as India won by a huge margin of 9 wickets with 117 balls remaining.

India leads by 3-0. Whatever happens in the final ODI at Leeds on Thursday, India has won the series.

This is an excellent preparation for the World Cup starting in Australia ”“ New Zealand next February.

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