Bopara guides England to 240 against India

November 20th, 2008 - 4:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Kanpur, Nov 20 (IANS) England batsmen failed to capitalise on a good start and were all out for 240 against India in the third One-Day International of the Hero Honda Cup here Thursday.The new opening combination of Ravi Bopara (60) and Ian Bell (46) gave England the best start in the series with a 79-run stand but a middle-order collapse saw them bowled out in 48.4 overs in the 49 over contest at the Green Park Stadium. Poor light in the morning forced a late start prompting the match officials to deduct one over.

Indian spinners again did the trick with Harbhajan Singh picking up three for 31 and reaching his 200 international wickets in the process while fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who made a comeback after missing the first two matches, looked rusty for his two for 60.

Desperately looking for a win in the series, England made changes in their batting line-up and promoted Bopara to open the batting in place of Matt Prior. The new pair batted patiently as just 16 runs came from the first seven overs. But then Bell accelerated, and England’s 50 came up in the 11th over. Bell threw his wickets with a loose edge to skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni off Munaf Patel.

Dhoni then turned to his spinners Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan to slow down the scoring rate. England captain Kevin Pietersen (13) who promoted himself up at No. 3 tried to dominate the spinners by playing some audacious shots. Pietersen lofted Yuvraj for a huge six but perished when he tried to repeat it against Harbhajan, caught at long-off by Zaheer Khan.

Harbhajan then enticed Paul Collingwood with a tossed-up delivery and Dhoni completed a smart stumping to reduce the Englishmen to 106/3.

Bopara on the other end excelled in his first crack as opener. His timing was perfect and crisply-struck shots came off his blade. The entire England dressing room stood to applaud his fourth ODI fifty, but he failed to convert the innings into a bigger one after he was beaten in flight by Yuvraj and was stumped by Dhoni.

Andrew Flintoff (26), Owais Shah (40) and Samit Patel (26) tried to do the repair work but struggled against the Indian spinners. Shah hit some breezy strokes before becoming Harbhajan’s 200th ODI victim.

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