And… I’m spent.

Andrew Strauss wasn’t kidding when he said England tend to raise their game against bigger opponents than the Netherlands. Only trouble is, he may as well have added, “We are England, so nothing is ever that that straightforward”.

It seems appropriate that this game against India would end in a tie, given the similarities between the two sides with both bat and ball. Sehwag gave three chances in the first over and then got out for 35; Tendulkar, making history yet again, made his 5th World Cup ton (his 98th international hundred – age shall not dim him, the years not weary him). India were past 300 before Tim Bresnan took 3 quick wickets and they were all out for 338.

In England’s reply, they were level on runs with India after five overs. Pietersen, still working on his strategy as an opener, made 31, while Andrew Strauss played a captain’s innings and then some with a magnificent 158. We were treated to Ian Bell bizarrely playing the Yuvraj role  – chipping in with an aggressive half century and providing able support for his team’s top scorer.

Just when it seemed an England victory was nailed on, and Indian fans were streaming from the ground – the fools – Zaheer Khan steamed in to take three quick wickets and turn the match. A desperate, almighty six from Ajmal Shahzad straight down the ground, two needed off the last ball, and throats being screamed raw at the Chinnaswamy as Shahzad and Graeme Swann ran like Forrest Gump stricken with the shits and sprinting for the nearest khazi. (Which reminds me – get well soon, Stuart Broad.)

All this, and we’re still only in the group stage.

India will be worried by the fact they could not defend 338. Andy Flower, judging by his expression while those around him on the balcony clapped and cheered, will be wondering why the hell England didn’t win.

We are nine days into this World Cup, and while only yesterday I was musing that this tournament has yet to bore me, now, it is properly exciting me.

Is this thing switched on? Why yes. Yes it is.

3 Responses to “And… I’m spent.”

  1. Tracer says:

    based on this match, can’t see either England or India winning the WC….the bowling is woeful and the fielding is inconsistent….batting can only take you so far..

  2. Cracker of a killer match, and even though I wanted both sides to lose I found myself chewing my fingertips off and shouting at Swann to get the fricking two. How did they not deserve to win after this monstrous chase!! Gahh. Poms make you age.

  3. The match was insanity to watch at the stadium. We shouted ourselves hoarse. Strauss and Sachin’s innings were truly batting masterclass.

    But I agree with Tracer. India especially looks extremely dependent on Zaheer for breakthroughs. The others don’t seem capable of even bowling a couple of tight overs.

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