Ambati Rayudu slammed an unbeaten 64 as India relied on an all-round display to thrash England by six wickets in the third cricket one-dayer and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the five-match series (Full Coverage: India tour for England)
If you were following the cricket with your eyes shut and ears open, Nottingham wouldn’t have sounded much different from Nagpur on Saturday. You would have heard loud boos cascading down the stands, which were full to the brim with India fans, when James Anderson took the guard towards the end of the first innings. Later in the afternoon, you would have heard the same fans humming the catchy, customary Ravindra Jadeja anthem when he stepped out to finish the game.
Even a cursory glance at the scorecard at the end of the third one-dayer wouldn’t have suggested anything different. You would have seen England all out for a comfortably below-par 227 in 50 overs, with the Indian spinners accounting for six wickets. You would have further noticed that the target was achieved with six wickets and seven overs to spare, with Ambati Rayudu’s 78-ball 64 helping the Men in Blue to an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
Such has been the reversal in the respective fortunes of the two teams that they are barely recognizable from where they were towards the end of the Test series less than a fortnight ago. It’s Jimmy and not Jadeja the crowd is now having a go at, and it’s India and not England who are winning this battle hands down.
So what has happened in this period? To begin with, England are perhaps in a parallel cricketing universe as compared to India when it comes to priorities. Just as India go about their Test commitments in a rather uninterested fashion, the Three Lions appear equally dispassionate about their limited-overs cricket. They just don’t appear to care enough about the ODIs. And in the last two matches, they have played as such.
Carrying no baggage
Secondly, the reinforcements who have arrived from India for the ODI leg have come without any baggage of defeat. It certainly has reflected in the way they have played. Especially Suresh Raina and Rayudu, the two architects of India’s emphatic win on Saturday.
At the press conference the other day, Raina, who scored a match-winning hundred in Cardiff in the first game, said he loves playing against England. Today, he again came up with a very public display of that affection. Not just with bat, but with ball and his fielding as well. Earlier in the series, Dhoni spoke about how Raina, with his more than handy part-time continued…