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Harmison hat-trick destroys India
Ashish Shukla |
September 01, 2004 19:11 IST
Last Updated: September 01, 2004 22:46 IST
India's hopes of redeeming batting pride and their reputation as world-beaters were dented when they crashed to a seven-wicket defeat against England in the first NatWest Challenge One-Day International in Nottingham on Wednesday.
Looking to get out of the wretched form of the Asia Cup, the Indian top order came up with an inept display against an innocuous England bowling attack and was all out for a paltry 170 at the Trent Bridge ground.
Steve Harmison claimed a hat-trick after debutant Alex Wharf had ripped through the top order to leave the Indian innings in shambles.
Mohammad Kaif, under pressure to deliver, top scored with 50 as he led the recovery after India had slid to 89 for five in the 19th over.
England were given a solid start by the India-born Viram Solanki, who capped his return to international cricket with a cracking half century.
Solanki's 52 came off 76 balls and contained eight fours as the young right-hander added 63-runs for the opening stand with Marcus Trescothick (33).
Andrew Strauss remained unbeaten on 41 while Andrew Flintoff, fast gaining the reputation as the world's best all-rounder, provided the finishing touch with a blistering 34 off 23 balls with three sixes and a four.
Put in to bat, the Indians, handicapped by the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, were found wanting on a track that was seaming but true in bounce.
The 52-run second wicket partnership between captain Sourav Ganguly and V V S Laxman turned out to be a case of 'flattering to deceive' as batsmen after batsmen fell prey to their own indiscretion.
Ganguly made 24 from 31 balls and struck four boundaries as he seemed set for a long haul, but perished while top-edging a pull outside off-stump and was caught by wicketkeeper Geraint Jones.
It was Wharf's maiden wicket. The right arm seamer had success in his very next over when Laxman, who looked confident at the number three slot and hit four fours for his 29 off 35 balls, went after an away going delivery to give Jones his second catch.
Harmison became the second Englishman and the 19th bowler to take a hat-trick in one-day internationals with the last three Indian wickets -- of Kaif, Laxmipathy Balaji and Ashish Nehra in his ninth over.
Kaif and Balaji were consumed behind the stumps and Nehra patted back a return catch as Harmison upstaged Wharf.
The strongly-built Glamorgan all-rounder cut his teeth in international cricket with three wickets for eight runs from 14 balls and scattered the winds of recovery which the visitors had begun to gather at the start of their innings.
The Indians lost Virender Sehwag (4) early but looked to be recovering their poise through the association of Ganguly and Laxman before Wharf came on for his bowl in big cricket in the 12th over.
Almost immediately, Ganguly mistimed a hook and was caught behind the wicket. Then, four balls later, Laxman was slow to withdraw his bat from the line of a delivery on his off-stump.
Rahul Dravid (13) was then drawn into an ungainly position to hook and Darren Gough made no mistake with the chance at fine leg.
Yuvraj Singh (4) was pushed for a non-existent third run by Kaif but the ageing Ashley Giles sent in an accurate return into the gloves of Jones.
Kaif and Rohan Gavaskar had built a 40-run stand from 83 balls for the sixth wicket before Paul Collingwood at point dived to pick up the latter for 20.
When England batted, they looked completely at ease against a wayward Indian bowling and fielding display.
Trescothick was in ominous form and raced to 33 from 40 balls, with seven fours, before his lavish square cut was well held by Yuvraj Singh at point.
England captain Michael Vaughan was gone for naught from only seven balls as Balaji took his second wicket for no run from eight balls.
But the hosts looked never looked troubled.
Solanki hit a half century and departed next ball to Irfan Pathan, but his replacement Andrew Flintoff made the bowler pay for it with massive sixes over cover and mid-wicket.
Flintoff finished off the game by swatting Kumble over square leg for a six in the 33rd over. He remained unbeaten on 34 with three sixes and one four from 23 balls.