Yuvi's princely show gives India 2-0 lead

Updated: 18 November 2008 08:41 IST

Powered by another superb knock from Yuvraj Singh, India continued its fabulous form as England now trail 2-0 in the series.

New Delhi:

Yuvraj Singh clobbered his second successive century and then scalped four key wickets as India maintained their stranglehold over England by thrashing the visitors by 54 runs in the second One-dayer on Monday.

The Indians rode on Yuvraj's scintillating 118 to post a competitive 292 for nine and then bundled out England for 238 in 47 overs to take a 2-0 lead in the seven-match series.

The 26-year-old Yuvraj, who recovered from a back injury just in time to be drafted into the team, came out with a stunning all-round display to play the pivotal role in India's victory on a rather slow track at the Maharani Usharaje Trust ground.

Yuvraj, who had blasted an unbeaten 138 off just 78 balls in the first One-dayer in Rajkot to mark his return to form, not only notched up his tenth century but also helped the hosts recover from an early slump which saw them tottering at 29 for three at one stage.

He then proved his ability as a left-arm spinner by returning dream figures of 10-0-28-4 which included the prized scalps of Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen and Owais Shah.

The Punjab swashbuckler stitched 134 runs for the fourth wicket with the in-form Gautam Gambhir (70) while the lanky Yousuf Pathan provided the late sparks to the innings with an savage unbeaten 50 off just 29 balls.

The England innings never really got the momentum to overhaul India's target with none of the batsmen really getting a big knock to keep them in the hunt. Owais Shah (58), Andrew Flintoff (43), Matt Prior (38) and Kevin Pietersen (33) got the starts but could not hang around long enough.

The two teams will now travel to Kanpur for the third game to be played at the Green Park stadium on Thursday.

England's innings began on a disastrous note with opener Ian Bell being run out in the very first over, thanks to a brilliant piece of fielding by Suresh Raina whose direct hit at the non-striker's end gave India the first wicket.

Matt Prior and Owais Shah then steadied the innings to some extent with a 96-run partnership for the second wicket. The two batsmen were quite content in keeping the scoreboard ticking with pushes and nudges while hitting the occasional boundary.

The introduction of the spinners from the 16th over onwards chocked the runs for the visitors, resulting in the asking rate climbing beyond eight runs per over.

The tourists lost the wickets of Shah (58) and Prior (38) in the span of three overs to tilt the scale in India's favour at the stage.

Yuvraj accounted for both the wickets, first trapping Shah leg before wicket and then bowled Prior with a ball that turned a bit.

England opted to take the batting powerplay from the 32nd over and suddenly the runs started coming briskly with captain Kevin Pietersen and the dangerous Andrew Flintoff belting 59 runs in those five overs.

Just when England showed signs of coming back into the match with some lusty hits, Yuvraj came to the rescue for the hosts by getting rid of Flintoff and Pietersen in the same over to change the complexion of the game.

With the visitors reduced to 185 for five after 38 overs following Yuvraj's dramatic over, the Indians had the game under control and it was only a matter of bowling tightly in the slog overs with the asking rate having climbed steeply.

Earlier, it was Yuvraj who stole the thunder for the second time on the trot. He struck two sixes and 15 fours and also cobbled a crucial century stand with Gambhir, who slammed his second successive half century in the series when making 70 off 76 balls.

Towards the end birthday boy Yusuf Pathan, who failed at Rajkot, hammered an unbeaten 50 in only 29 balls by clobbering four sixes, including two in the last over bowled by Steve Harmison, and two fours to finish the innings on a high note.

The hosts lost the wickets of opener Virender Sehwag (1), Suresh Raina (4) and Rohit Sharma (3) in quick succession with Stuart Broad doing all the damage early in the morning.

While Gambhir continued to show his good form since the series against Australia, Yuvraj had to play differently, mostly with nudges and tickles, from what he had done at Rajkot where he carted the bowlers with impunity.

The Punjab batsman adapted well to the slower pace of the wicket here and still scored at a fast pace, completing his century in only 107 balls with the help of two sixes and 12 fours.

He finally fell to Broad, in the 44th over when trying to drive the England pacer during the batting side's Power Play taken between the 43rd to 47th over with the score reading 239.

India lost Sehwag, who gave the innings a rollicking start in the first ODI on Friday, early when he dragged Broad on to his stumps while attempting a drive in the second over of the match.

Raina was the next to go when he tried to flick at Broad, bowling with a packed off-side field with two fielders at short cover and extra cover, and the ball stopped a bit for it to balloon towards short square leg and Samit Patel dived in front to catch it.

India, struggling at 15 for two, slid deeper into the mire when Sharma, who found it difficult to middle the ball, mistimed a hook shot off Broad and top-edged for Owais Shah to take an easy catch at short mid-wicket to leave the hosts at 29 for three.

However, Yuvraj and Gambhir adopted judicious stroke-play on a wicket that did not play as true as the one at Rajkot did. In fact the rate picked up significantly only after the arrival of Yuvraj at the crease.

England lacked a quality spin bowler to exploit the roughs at both ends with Samit Patel not good enough to do so and gave away 21 runs in his first three overs in two spells. Broad, taken to the cleaners at Rajkot where he conceded 74 runs, bowled a brilliant first spell, keeping the ball on the off side of the wicket and also bowling a much fuller length with the short ball used as a shock weapon.

His first spell of 5-1-14-3 put the home team on the back foot with the result that as compared to the 5.5 rate they maintained at Rajkot, they could do only just over four here in the initial stages.

After Yuvraj's departure, Pathan, who completed his half-century off the last ball, joined the remaining batsmen to add 53 runs with the Power Play opted for by India yielding 37 runs.

Broad was easily the pick of the English attack with four for 55, but Collingwood and Pietersen too did the good work in their spells to take a wicket apiece.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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