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Monday, October 16, 2006


India beat England by four wickets in the Champions Trophy curtain-raiser in Jaipur after the hosts had produced an excellent bowling performance.
Munaf Patel and Ramesh Powar each took three wickets and Irfan Pathan removed Andrew Flintoff for a duck as England were bowled out for 125 in 37 overs.
England fought back valiantly with the ball, taking six Indian wickets in all.
But the tourists had not scored enough runs and Yuvraj Singh (27 not out) got the hosts home in the 30th over.
The best performance by any batsman in the match was Paul Collingwood?s 38, and James Anderson collected two wickets on his international comeback.
Anderson, whose last appearance for England had been in mid-April, also in India, removed pinch-hitter Pathan (19) and India captain Rahul Dravid in a single over.
Jamie Dalrymple and Steve Harmison also collected a brace of wickets each, though Harmison?s first over cost 20 runs.
Ultimately Sachin Tendulkar (35) and Yuvraj did enough for India on a wicket that was never easy to bat on.
There was plenty of uneven bounce and some swing movement on offer throughout.
England were not, however, helped by umpire Daryl Harper?s decision to uphold Patel?s appeal for lbw against Ian Bell in the fourth over of the match. The ball would have sailed over the stumps.
But when Flintoff and Michael Yardy also got their pads in the way of the ball, they had little reason to complain.
If 17-3 looked bad, then 27-4 was a total disaster for the tourists, who had been asked to bat first when India won the toss.
Kevin Pietersen finally injected some purpose into the innings, but Patel had him snapped up at first slip for 27 as he drove at ball that was not there for the shot.
As spinners Powar and Harbhajan Singh entered the fray, Collingwood and Dalrymple faced the dilemma of having to push the score along as much as possible while not losing any wickets.
They did at least advance the score from 55-5 to 106-6, until Collingwood, who had been batting brightly, was caught off glove and pad by wicket-keeper Mahendra Dhoni.
Chris Read had barely had a look at the bowling before hoisting Harbhajan to long-on before Harbhajan took the catch off Powar?s bowling to end Sajid Mahmood?s innings.
It was fine work by the fielder, running diagonally backwards to take the catch at long-on, his momentum almost taking him over the rope, but not quite.
Dalrymple?s vigil was ended on 24 and Harmison was run out as England?s innings finished in a hurry.
in India?s reply, Tendulkar and Pathan batted smoothly to take India to 55-1, whereupon the players took their 45-minute break.
Then, with the floodlights switched on, Anderson had Pathan spectacularly caught by Kevin Pietersen at short extra-cover.
Three balls later, Dravid departed to an Andrew Strauss slip catch to leave India 72-3. That double strike emboldened Harmison, who beat Tendulkar for pace to trap him lbw.
The run rate almost ground to a halt, before Dhoni lost patience and drove Dalrymple to mid-on. The off-spinner struck again when Suresh Raina was bowled for a duck.
But only seven runs were needed, and Harbhajan provided the winning hit, a boundary off Mahmood allowing the celebratory fireworks to begin.


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