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Home > Business > Special

Cook, Bell tons weigh on India

August 21, 2007

- Scorecard | Images

England [Images] turned in a fine all-round showing to beat India by 104 runs in the first One-Day International of the NatWest series in Southampton on Tuesday.

Spurred by maiden centuries from Alastair Cook [Images] and Ian Bell [Images], the hosts, beaten 0-1 in the Test series, put up a handsome 288 for 2 after being put in to bat and then dismissed India for a paltry 184.

India were done in by three run-outs and fine bowling by James Anderson, who claimed four wickets for 23 runs.

Had Dinesh Karthik not scored a stubborn 44 off 45 deliveries that included four boundaries, the defeat could have been humiliating.

England innings:

Opener Cook scored a well-paced 102 while Bell hit an aggressive 126 not out as England exposed the inadequacies in the Indian bowling in the day-night encounter at Rose Bowl.

Cook and Bell put on 178 runs for the second wicket after the early dismissal of Matt Prior [Images], who was promoted as opener.

It was a maiden hundred in limited-overs' cricket for Cook. He got those runs off 126 balls and struck eight fours before playing on while trying to accelerate the scoring.

Bell, who struggled with the bat in the Test series, redeemed himself with an attacking knock, scoring a century at a run-a-ball before stepping up the gas in the closing overs.

Kevin Pietersen [Images] was not required to unleash his big hits, yet he scored 33 off only 25 deliveries.

The unbroken third-wicket stand between Bell and Pietersen was worth 67 runs while 78 came off the last 10 overs.

Zaheer Khan [Images], whose first eight overs had decent figures of 1 for 33, went for 16 runs in the last two overs.

Ajit Agarkar [Images], the other seasoned specialist seamer, conceded 65 without any return.

Rudra Pratap Singh and Sourav Ganguly [Images] too went for five runs an over.

And with part-timers Sachin Tendulkar [Images] and Yuvraj Singh [Images] too proving costly, captain Rahul Dravid [Images] was left wondering whether he was right in inserting England in.

Dravid seemed to have done the right thing by asking England to bat when Prior departed in the 11th over with 43 on the board.

But Cook and Bell combined wonderfully to frustrate the Indian attack. The pair scored only 58 runs by way of boundaries as they focussed on finding the gaps, rotating the strike and running hard between wickets.

The 23-year-old Cook, who scored his first Test hundred against India on debut in Nagpur last year, brought up his maiden one-day hundred against the same opponents in only his sixth one-day international.

The pair especially thrived in the middle overs when India's part-timers, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh, operated along with leg spinner Piyush Chawla.

Cook began carefully, helping himself to a couple of boundaries only when Ajit Agarkar over-pitched it or drifted onto his pads.

However, once he had Bell for company, he began to express himself more freely, driving R P Singh and sweeping Chawla to reach his 50 off 74 balls, inclusive of four fours.

Once he was past his fifty, Cook started enjoying his exchanges with the Indian spinners in the middle overs, making lovely use of his feet.

He cut Yuvraj Singh to the point boundary before driving Zaheer Khan past mid-wicket. A lovely short arm pull off R P Singh took him to 99.

Cook completed his hundred with a single to cover in the 40th over of the innings. It came off 122 balls and was inclusive of eight delightful boundaries.

He was out in the 42nd over, bowled off an inside edge to R P Singh for 102.

Bell made a confident start, driving R P Singh on the rise to the cover boundary. He wasn't shy of going over the top either, dispatching Ganguly over mid-wicket and pulling Tendulkar high over deep square leg.

And when Chawla came on to bowl, he charged down the wicket and hit him for a six to long-off.  

Another glance to the fine leg boundary off Tendulkar gave him his half-century.

He then continued to milk the bowling and made the most of everything that was offered as a gift.

He went on to complete his first hundred, with a flicked boundary off Agarkar in the 45th over and celebrated his landmark leaping in the air and pumping his fists.

It took him exactly 100 balls and he hit eight fours and a six.

Towards the end of the innings Bell and Kevin Pietersen used the long handle to good effect to help England post an impressive total.

India innings:

Chasing a stiff target of 289, India were tottering at 34 for 4 by the 12th over, Anderson being the wrecker-in chief with figures of 3 for 19, which included the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir [Images] and Yuvraj Singh after Sourav Ganguly was run-out in the third over.

Ganguly was run out to a superb piece of fielding by Monty Panesar [Images] when he attempted a second run and was sent back by Tendulkar. The southpaw scored two off six balls.

Left-hander Gambhir (3) then chased an away delivery from Anderson and ended up nicking it to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

Anderson then dismissed Tendulkar and Yuvraj in the space of five deliveries in the 12th over.

Tendulkar, who was repeatedly troubled by the darting new ball, flicked the right arm seamer straight to Ravi Bopara at midwicket. His 17 came off 33 balls and contained one four.

Yuvraj then poked at an out-swinger and his outside edge was taken one-handed by Cook in the slip cordon.

It could have been easily five down but Andrew Flintoff's [Images] searing short-pitched delivery, which Dhoni [Images] skied to Prior, was ruled 'no-ball'.

Tendulkar too had a reprieve when on eight. The master batsman was completely beaten by an in-cutter from rookie seamer Stuart Broad, and the ball clipped his front pad on its way to the keeper.

Television replays, however, showed that the ball had brushed the top of the off-stump although the bails remained in place. The batsman, fielders and umpires seemed unaware of it.

Dravid and Mahendra Dhoni somewhat steadied the innings with a 68-run stand in 18.4 overs before the former gloved a catch behind to give Flintoff a wicket and mark his return to international action after missing the Test series defeat due to an ankle injury. Flintoff claimed one for 12 off seven overs.

Dravid was dismissed for 46 in the next over, caught behind, to give Dimitri Mascarenhas his first international wicket and impressive figures of one for 28 from his 10 overs of medium pace.

The innings then fell apart due to some terrible running between the wickets that led to Ajit Agarkar and Piyush Chawla both being run out.

Anderson then yorked Zaheer Khan while Panesar completed the rout by bowling R P Singh with the last ball of the 50th over, leaving Karthik not out on 44.

The second match of the series is in Bristol on Friday.

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