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Saturday, October 15, 2011

India-England Return ODI series - The Indian team is back

After losing against England on their disastrous tour, the Indian cricket team made a return to winning ways in a venue that has not been very kind to home teams. Hyderabad proved lucky for MS Dhoni, first with the toss and then with the bat & ball. The Indian team management must have been very happy with the performances by the young players though there is still a long way to go forward.

Raina and Dhoni along with cameos from Jadeja and Kohli ensured that the Indian total was challenging. The English team finally came to terms with reality - all the cricket writers who were hurriedly praising the team and management will now have to pause. The strength of the English team on sub-continental pitches has been a suspect for quite a while now - even with the recent 'hot' form behind them, the English faltered at every question the Indian players posed.

Spin will become a potent weapon for the Indians in the series, as the first match showed. The younger players in the England team had no clue for all the tricks of the spinners. The slowness of Cook and Trott was very much visible in the chase - something that will be on the mind of Andy Flower. It becomes imperative then that Kevin Pietersen should come to the party. Without his touch, the English will struggle to win on Indian pitches.

The bowlers, similarly, had no impact on the marauding batsmen. Yes, the first 35 overs were restrictive but the Indians changed gears in the last fifteen in such a way that the English were left trying to catch up. The Indian fielding, with young guns, showed major improvement compared to their recent trysts.

Are the Indian problems solved then? Not exactly. The top-order is still searching for form while the seasoned duo (Raina and MSD) keep performing consistently. This series will give the Indians a good opportunity to try out their second-string players in conditions where they will feel at home. If only a couple of players grab their chances and come good, the selectors will be having less sleepless nights.

On current evidence, the Indians look like winning the series at the earliest opportunity - will the English come back in the next match? Very unlikely!
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