Cricket Classics

India v England, 1st ODI 2001-02, Kolkata.

Friday, May 30, 2022
Sportz Interactive
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When: 19 January, 2002
Where: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
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SERIES BRUSH-UP

  • Gunning for revenge: The English team was beaten 1-0 by hosts India in a backbreaking Test series. The Poms were aiming to clinch the ODI series and even things in the subcontinent before returning home.
  • Lack of ODI experience: The England team had a very inexperienced one-day side as only four players in this squad had played in excess of 50 such matches. 
  • Absence of ‘The Wall’: Rahul ‘The Wall’ Dravid wasn’t available for the one-day series as he was ruled out due to an injury.
  • Last-minute physical matters: England had some concerns in their camp ahead of the first ODI as Marcus Trescothick and Paul Collingwood were down with a viral fever and a stomach bug respectively.
  • There is a pretty long history in the cricket matches played between India and England. Both teams are traditional rivals and are formidable opponents to play against in their own backyards. But one concern with the two cricketing nations is that each of them has found it difficult to perform consistently on away turfs.

    On the 2001-02 tour of India, Nasser Hussain’s relatively young English side proved their mettle as a resilient opposition to battle against the subcontinent giants on slow and dusty Indian tracks. The Poms fought hard against India in a very hostile Test series which the hosts managed to win by a margin of 1-0. The rivalry between the two teams in the Test matches left a bad taste in the mouth of several players from both sides, which carried into the one-day series too.

    The first game of the 6-match ODI series took place at the phenomenal Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The stadium has the capacity to hold 90000 people and is one of the happier hunting grounds for the hosts. This game was a day-night encounter and the crowd in attendance was close to one lakh. It was virtually impossible for anyone to hear themselves at the Eden Gardens that day, as a vast number of crazy fans were roaring for their respective teams to do well.


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    Indian skipper and local lad Sourav Ganguly was lucky to call the right side of the coin and win the toss. He elected to bat first, looking at the belter of a batting track and with a 270 plus target in sight. Ganguly, who was under severe criticism for his drought of runs and his struggling captaincy stint during the Test series, came out to open the innings with the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar alongside him.

    Sound start:

    The duo had four years experience of opening the batting together and both of them complemented each other’s style of batting pretty well. India got off to an ideal start as the opening pair racked up easy runs off an inexperienced English bowling attack.

    The likes of Gough, Hoggard and Flintoff were made to pay heavily for some wayward deliveries and the 50-run partnership was brought up in the tenth over. Hussain’s ploy to introduce part-timer Paul Collingwood with the field restrictions still on didn’t pay off as the below par medium pacer was smashed for 10 runs in his first over.


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    With 78 runs scored in fourteen overs, the Indian team started contemplating a 300 plus score on a placid Eden Gardens pitch.

    Quick setbacks:

    On this particular tour, Andrew Flintoff emerged as a number one nemesis with the ball to the Indian batters. The burly all-rounder was a constant thorn to the Indian team and his rivalry with former Lancashire teammate Ganguly was an intensifying one during the Test series.

    ‘Freddie’ eventually came forth as the partnership-breaker in the 15th over after he rattled the stumps to get rid of Tendulkar for 36 runs. If that didn’t come as a shocker, three overs later Flintoff struck again, this time to send Ganguly back to the pavilion for 42 runs.

    The loud crowd at Kolkata broke into silence as India got itself into a spot of bother at 95-2. Dinesh Mongia was then joined by VVS Laxman in the middle and the duo was set the task to resurrect the innings. Both of them responded well by sharing a 55-run stand for the 3rd wicket until a well-set Laxman was caught by Collingwood off Gough for 25 runs.

    FINER POINTS

  • Dinesh Mongia scored his maiden one-day international fifty and was the highest scorer during the Indian innings.
  • Rookie wicketkeeper Ajay Ratra made his one-day debut during the Kolkata game and was tagged as a livewire glovesman by several cricket pundits.
  • It was Ganguly’s first victory as skipper of India against England in a one-day international.
  • Virender Sehwag came into the middle next and matched Mongia well stroke for stroke for his 29 runs. His innings was brought to an end by Hoggard, who ran through the defences of Sehwag to disturb the timber. India seemed to be losing their way after a good start at that juncture.

    Meanwhile, Dinesh Mongia continued playing a mature and sensible knock reaching his maiden one-day fifty off the same number of balls. Jeremy Snape took most of the toll of Mongia’s batting as the southpaw scored freely off the off-break bowler. But Snape had the last laugh as he deceived Mongia to bowl him out for 71 runs. The left-hander’s knock came off 75 deliveries with seven boundaries and a maximum to his name.

    Ajit Agarkar and debutant Ajay Ratra were dismissed in quick succession for two runs each and India started to lose their way again in the death overs. Hemang Badani, who watched wickets tumble at the other end, then found an able partner in Harbhajan Singh. Badani and Singh added a valuable 38 runs between them to take the score to 280.

    Badani’s brisk knock of 35 runs unfortunately ended after the southpaw was run out off the penultimate ball of the innings. Harbhajan scored 18 unbeaten runs and India were successful in posting a challenging total of 281 runs on the board in 50 overs.

    The bowling figures of the English bowlers didn’t look flattering with several of them going at a rate of above 5 runs per over. Moreover, the England team was robbed of one over because of their slow bowling rate during the Indian innings.


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    With a tough task of chasing 282 runs ahead them, the English openers in Marcus Trescothick and Nick Knight came out to bat in front of a jam-packed crowd. The visitors got off to the worst possible start as Knight was trapped leg before wicket by Srinath for a first ball duck. The decision was a tough one given by the umpire in the bowler’s favour.

    SIGN POST

  • The rivalry between India and England intensified throughout the series which ended in a 3-3 draw. It was during the final ODI at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium when Andrew Flintoff removed his T-shirt in wild celebration after clinching a victory for England.
  • Marcus Trescothick went to become the highest run-getter in the series with a tally of 318 runs from six matches.
  • Sachin Tendulkar was named the Man of the Series for his compilation of 266 runs and a couple of wickets in the series.
  • It was a good outing for the English team during the one-dayers as they saw the series as part of the continuing build-up to the 2003 World Cup in South Africa eventually.
  • Skipper Nasser Husain came in next to bat with the intention of scoring quickly in the first fifteen overs. Both Hussain and Trescothick got early let-offs, courtesy Laxman. The English skipper on 19 runs while the left-handed opener on two runs, were grassed by Laxman. The duo made India pay for the dropped chances with a 63-run stand for the second wicket. Hussain looked good with his skills to keep the scoreboard ticking until he was snared by Kumble for a LBW decision on 29 runs.

    Hussain’s departure brought right-hander Michael Vaughan to the crease. In the meantime, Trescothick continued to dominate the Indian bowling attack and utilized the fielding to the max, by hitting frequent boundaries and sixes. Even champion spinners like Kumble and Harbhajan weren’t spared as Trescothick took them to the cleaners within the first fifteen overs.

    The Somerset batsman shared a 59-run stand with Vaughan (14) first and then after the latter’s wicket, Trescothick added another 50 plus stand with Paul Collingwood. Ganguly then introduced himself to put the brakes on the English innings, and he did so by dismissing Collingwood who looked sharp for his 21 runs.

    IMPACT PLAYER

    Marcus Trescothick


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    Marcus Trescothick:
    The Kolkata one-day between India and England can be rightly remembered as the Marcus Trescothick ODI. The southpaw single-handedly threatened to take the game away from India. After being dropped on two runs by Laxman, the opener capitalized on the let-off by punishing the Indian bowlers.

    'Tresco' got a measure of the pace and bounce in the pitch, as he unleashed some impactful strokes off the back foot against the medium pacers. The Somerset batsman was very severe on Kumble and Harbhajan as he used his feet well and clobbered both the spinners for a six each.

    The left-hander went on to smash a glorious 121 runs, his 2nd ODI ton off just 109 balls. Trescothick’s knock came in a losing cause but it was one to remember for a long time.

    Marvellous ‘Tresco’:

    With his side cruising on towards the target, Trescothick himself went on achieve a grand feat of scoring his second ever ODI ton off just 80 balls. It was a huge effort by the southpaw as he scored a century despite being match-unfit because of a viral fever. In fact during the India innings, Marcus went as many as five times off the field due to sickness. It was a memorable knock by the opener as his ton came in as early as the 26th over.

    Trescothick got along with Flintoff very well and the two of them started to take the game away from India with a steady partnership. The tourists were placed in a strong position at 224-4, needing 58 runs more off 14 overs, when umpire SK Sharma adjudged Trescothick LBW to Javagal Srinath. It was a very controversial decision as the ball seemed to pitch some distance outside leg stump.

    The tall opener had batted for a magnificent 121 runs off just 109 balls. His knock was decorated with 13 boundaries and two massive sixes.

    Losing the plot:

    The fall of the left-handed opener was the turning point of the match as it triggered a major collapse for the Poms. Flintoff got involved in an awful mix-up with Jeremy Snape to get himself run out on 24 runs. Snape was folded by Harbhajan for 3 runs while Agarkar returned in his final spell to bundle Giles (18), Foster (2) and Gough (0) cheaply.

    England lost their last six wickets for 35 runs in eight overs, and were bowled out for 259 runs in 44 overs. A monstrous crowd erupted with joy as India won the match by 22 runs to take an all-important 1-0 lead in the 6-ODI series.

    The Indian bowlers were on the expensive side too with each one of them going for 5 an a half runs per over. Agarkar scalped three wickets while Srinath and Kumble chipped in with couple of wickets each.

    Marcus Trescothick went on to pick up the Man of the Match award for his remarkable century. The batter thus announced his arrival on to the international stage as a force to be reckoned. He scored a ton despite being ill. “I've been on antibiotics over the last three days and I've got better and today there was a big improvement," Trescothick said at the press conference.

    A gruelling first encounter between India and England at the Eden Gardens set the tone for the remaining five clashes in the series. But the Eden Gardens game followed controversy as skipper Nasser Hussain was frustrated with the Indian umpires’ couple of errors during the game. In a post-match conference, Hussain commented, “We're obviously frustrated by certain things. Decisions go against you, but it's not the end of the world and we just pick ourselves up and if we don't we will just cause ourselves problems."

    Relive the magic
     

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    -Rohan Tawde

     


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