Yuvraj shines again; powers India to 292/9November 17th, 2008 - 4:13 pm ICT by IANS
Indore, Nov 17 (IANS) Yuvraj Singh was at his best once again, striking his second consecutive century to help India come out of a disastrous start and post 292 for nine in 50 overs against England in the second One-Day International of the Hero Honda Cup here Monday.Electing to bat first, India were put on the back foot with triple strikes from fast bowler Stuart Broad that reduced the hosts to 29/3 in the eighth over.
But a scintillating 118 off 122 balls from Yuvraj and opener Gautam Gambhir (70) helped India wriggle out from the precarious position at the Maharani Usharaje Trust Cricket Ground.
The duo stitched a valuable 134-run partnership for the fourth wicket before Yusuf Pathan’s (50 not out) savage knock set a challenging target for the Englishmen on a pitch that offered variable bounce.
England had India on the mat on an unpredictable pitch after a sensational first spell from Broad but they let the hosts get away with some wayward bowling later on.
Broad used the morning conditions cleverly and was rewarded with three crucial wickets — Virender Sehwag (1), Suresh Raina (4) and Rohit Sharma (3).
Sehwag dragged one on to his stumps, Suresh Raina played early to give a leading edge to Samit Patel at square leg while Rohit Sharma, promoted ahead of Yuvraj to keep the right-left combination going, hooked an easy catch to Owais Shah at square leg.
To strengthen the hold, Kevin Pietersen packed the off-side field but Gambhir took the advantage of vacant spaces and stepped out to loft Steve Harmison over square leg. Gambhir found it difficult to score boundaries but rotated the strike well to score his 13th half-century.
Yuvraj started edgily and took some time to adjust to the pitch. He cut loose when he glanced Andrew Flintoff’s no-ball towards fine-leg boundary and then pulled a free hit into the stands for a six. It set the tempo of his innings which was toned down in comparison to Rajkot blitzkrieg.
He brought up his half-century by flicking Harmison powerfully towards the midwicket boundary and by the half-way mark, he was in supreme touch.
England tried to salvage some pride at the end of the innings by dismissing Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj in quick successions. But a late flurry of shots by Pathan, whose 29-ball innings included four sixes, helped India set a tough target for England.