Flower surveys size of India challenge
England’s heavy defeat to India in the opening match of the one-day series demonstrates the task the tourists face to beat world champions India on the sub-continent, according to Andy Flower.
Team director Flower’s charges surrendered the first match of five by 126 runs at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium yesterday.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s unbeaten 87 from 70 deliveries doubled India's score in the last 15 overs, propelling them to 300 for seven. Three wickets each for spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja then helped bowl England out for 174 in the 37th over.
The tourists came into this game without defeat to India in 11 matches in all formats this year, but the 2011 world champions’ victory was emphatic.
“We always knew what the challenge was, coming to India, to win out here, and last night was a good example of the sort of cricket that is going to be played out here,” Flower said.
“It’s tough. It’s different to English conditions, obviously, and we will have to adapt better to it.
“They played well in those last 15 overs, there’s no doubt about that. Dhoni is a very dangerous player, a strong hitter of the ball, and he’d got himself in by that stage.
“They’d set up their innings for exactly that, and then he played superbly. In this instance, I think we have to give him a lot of credit for that.
“Remember, these guys are world champions - and they’re good in their own country.”
Alastair Cook, who top-scored for England with 60, and Jonathan Trott responded to the early loss of Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen with a 61-run stand, but the tourists slumped from 111 for two to lose their last eight wickets for 63 runs.
“Our problem was that we weren’t able to manipulate the spinners as well as they did in the middle overs - a catalyst for a number of wickets in that period,” Flower added.
“There were various aspects of the game that were good - Cook played nicely, again went at a run a ball.
“He is overcoming all challenges that are put in front of him, and that was a good example last night. But in the main we under-performed.”
England flew to Delhi today for Monday’s second game at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground, where Flower anticipates they will respond to defeat.
“This group of England cricketers has shown they are of strong character, and I expect us to bounce back,” he predicted.
“We were outplayed by the Indians on this occasion. They outfielded us - something that doesn’t often happen to us - and we didn’t deserve to win the game.
“But one down in a five-match series - we’re going to look to do something about that in Delhi.”