London, Nov 24 : After England lost the 7-match ODI series against India 0-4 last night, English media offered kudos to Team India, saying that the hosts are playing one-day cricket on "a different level" to England, whatever the length of the game. Yesterday's game was reduced to 22-overs a side after rain halted the match twice.
"Whether playing a full-blown 50-over ODI or a rain-shrunk short version as they did in Bangalore last night, they have proved themselves superior to Kevin Pietersen's England. England were beaten again, this time by 19 runs in another finish contrived under the Duckworth-Lewis system," said an article in the Daily Express.
It added: "The home side has so much impetus with them that you would not want to bet against it. The story was much the same with England making basic errors and paying the price. The game was up for England and while they will feel they put up a spirited fight, they had only themselves and not the weather to blame for their predicament."
England's target was revised up to 198 and while it was a tough call, India's bowlers and fielders had to cope with a wet ball against a team that could approach the challenge like a Twenty20 match. England, though, did not appear to see it like that. They set off so sedately in their run chase it appeared they were in 50-over mode, added the paper.
Another article published in The Telegraph said that England's fourth successive defeat at the hands of India underlined the gulf in class between the two sides despite the tourists landing in India less than three weeks ago with confidence brimming from claiming a 4-0 home success against South Africa just two months earlier.
It added: "In the opening four matches of this series, their gameplan has been completely undermined with India's top order consistently dominating their attack, not least today when they raced to 106 for one off just 17 overs when rain halted play for the second time. If that was not punishment enough, England then watched helplessly as India added 60 runs in the five overs remaining after the re-start with Yuvraj Singh again demonstrating his explosive stroke-play to finish unbeaten on 25 from just 11 balls."
The Guardian also said that despite fighting hard, the visitors looked "wanting" against India. "A reshuffled England fought hard but were again found wanting, their frustration heightened by a farcical finale. The match was delayed by 45 minutes for morning mist, but nonsensically the overs were reduced only by one over per side to 49.
If there is any consolation for England it is that their batting reshuffle gave them a better feel, even if their 240-8 was about 20 runs shy of their ambitions. Ravi Bopara's first opportunity as an opening batsman - an entirely new role for him - brought his highest ODI score, 60 from 82 balls, a better innings than it sounds. Owais Shah, demoted from No3 to No6, manipulated the middle overs in making 40 at roughly a run a ball, although his part in a badly-timed power play was less impressive."
It added: "But England's bowling remains fallible. Andrew Flintoff strove aggressively, Graeme Swann's off-spin was treated with respect and Stuart Broad was lively. But Jimmy Anderson found no joy in his 100th ODI and was struck for 47 from six overs by an Indian side which is targeting him with relish; he desperately needs the white ball to swing under the lights in Bangalore on Sunday. Samit Patel continues to be fodder."
Story first published: Monday, November 24, 2008, 10:07 [IST]
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