England picked up their second comprehensive victory of the series with a 42-run win at Edgbaston in the third One Dayer. Rahul Dravid’s decision of putting England to bat first rather than have them bat in the second session proved to be a decisive factor in the outcome of the game. A fantastic innings from Ian Bell was instrumental in lifting England to a formidable total and in their chase of nearly 6.00 runs per over, the Indians were driven by an uninspired batting show from Sourav Ganguly.
Collingwood was without Freddie Flintoff who has been rested for two ODIs because of a knee injury and Dimitri Mascarenhas, who got injured minutes before the toss. Owais Shah and Monty Panesar were the two replacements for them. In the first day match of the series, England got themselves to a wonderful start through Prior and Cook. Zaheer Khan coming back into the team replacing Agarkar looked very sharp and aggressive, but his new ball partner RP Singh was too much onto the pads of Cook. In fact RP Singh was guilty of putting down a sitter at fine leg off a hook shot from Cook in Zaheer’s bowling. The first wicket was bound to come for the Indians with Prior not known for sticking onto the wicket for a long time. The wicket keeper batsman spoilt his start by going for a needless slog off Munaf to cut short his innings at 34 from 40 in an opening stand of 76 in 13.4 overs.
Ramesh Powar getting a few overs to bowl in the powerplays got the wicket of Cook. The left hander was induced in going for the sweepshot to a legstump delivery that had the turn and bounce to find the top edge. Cook made 40 from 56. India got control of the proceedings when Piyush Chawla for the second time in this series outsmarted Kevin Pietersen. KP (9 from 22) played all around a googly after stepping down the track to be smartly stumped by MS Dhoni.
The homeside were 118 for 3 after 24 overs and could have easily been restricted to something around 240 if the bowlers continued to take wickets. But that just didn’t happen with Ian Bell continuing with his wonderful form along with Collingwood to put on 75 runs for the fourth wicket. Collingwood scored 44 from 53 with 2 fours and a six before his reverse sweep off Powar went straight to short thirdman. The platform was laid for the final few overs and Owais Shah played a busy innings of 19 from 15 to increase the tempo with Bell. RP Singh had come back in his latter spell to get rid of Bopara and eventually Bell, who were both caught at covers. Bell got a well paced 79 from 89 with 2 fours and two sixes. His running between the wicket was simply outstanding with lot of pressure put on the outfielders. England finished on a high getting to 281 for 8 with Chris Tremlett providing the final touches with 19 from 9 with a four and a six. Zaheer Khan was the best among the three pacers although he went wicketless in his spell of 0 for 43 in 10 overs. Ramesh Powar was the best of all the bowlers taking 2 for 45 in his 10 overs.
The highlight of the first few overs of the Indian chase was the four boundaries struck in an over by Sourav Ganguly off Jimmy Anderson. But that was the only time India had got going in the first 10 overs that yielded only 35 runs. Tendulkar who didn’t get much of the strike had a soft dismissal as he patted away a short and wide delivery from Anderson into the hands of the point fielder. Tendulkar had just got a powerful pull shot off the same bowler a few deliveries before he perished in his innings of 8 from 19. In the 11th over, Dinesh Karthik fell for a second ball duck in the same fashion like Tendulkar, the only difference was that he was going for a backfoot drive and the bowler being Stuart Broad. Both Anderson and Broad held their own really well to give nothing away to Ganguly which got the asking rate to climb up quickly. Thanks to an attacking innings from Rahul Dravid, India started to get back into the match. Chris Tremlett was the target once again with this time going for 20 in his 2 overs. Both Dravid and Ganguly got to their respective half centuries, but the job for India was only half done.
Chris Tremlett returning back for a second spell provided the twist in the game by getting Rahul Dravid to play onto his stumps with a sharp offcutter. Dravid did play well for his 56 from 61 which had 7 fours and a pick up shot for six off Collingwood. Dravid fell at the score of 140 in the 30th over. Sourav Ganguly after batting out many dot balls eventually fell in the 32nd over trying to steer Tremlett past Prior which he failed in doing so. Ganguly made 72 from 104 with 9 fours and a six. But what was notable was that he took the risks only after completing a half century. He did strike a six straight over the head of Monty Panesar, the bowler after dancing down the track. Most of Ganguly’s shots were finding the fielders which always pulled the run rate down. For the record, Ganguly became the fourth player ever to cross the 11k run mark in ODIs.
It was a hopeless situation for both Yuvraj and Dhoni who were both new at the crease with 133 more to win at more than 7.00 runs per over. A brief partnership between the pair took off before Anderson coming back for a new spell got Dhoni to cut him straight into the hands of Collingwood at point. Dhoni made 13 from 20 as India slipped to 190 for 5 in the 39th. It was now all left to Yuvraj to pull off a spectacular innings all on his own. Yuvraj tried his best with some powerful shots, but it was too much on one player to do all the scoring. He got 45 from 39 with 4 fours and a slog sweep for a six before getting run out. India finished at 239 all out in 48.1 overs with Anderson fittingly picking up the last wicket. Anderson was once again the striking force for England with 3 for 32 in 9.1 overs.
England bowling had the edge because it was backed up by some brilliant fielding display from both the infielders and the outfielders. Collingwood’s captaincy was top notch as most of the shots played by the Indians found the fielders. The Man of the Match was given for Ian Bell for his good knock of 79. The fourth game is on the 30th at Old Trafford in Manchester.