Delhi defied the odds to put a up sterling batting display and defeat England XI by six wickets in a practice match at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium on Tuesday.
Electing to bat, England made 294 for five with Ian Bell, who opened the innings, striking a hundred (108). However, Delhi mounted a professional chase, and spurred by captain Shikhar Dhawan’s attacking century (110, 109b, 14x4, 3x6) and Milind Kumar’s exciting knock (78 n.o., 85b, 7x4, 3x6) the home side overhauled the target in 48.3 overs.
It was England’s second straight loss in as many warm-up games in three days. Earlier, India ‘A’ had defeated them on Sunday. It was indeed a good batting performance from Delhi, who had struggled throughout this Ranji Trophy season with their batting. The England bowlers lacked the sting as pacers Steven Finn and Jade Dernbach failed to impress while spinner James Tredwell emerged the most successful bowler (2-49).
Openers Dhawan and Unmukt Chand gave their side a good start with a 98-run stand before the latter was dismissed by Tredwell. With Dhawan around, Delhi looked well on course. But Joe Root trapped him leg before in the 34th over to dampen Delhi’s hopes.
However, 21-year-old Milind dug deep before accelerating. His unbeaten century partnership (103 off 72 balls) with experienced Rajat Bhatia (45 n.o., 33 balls, 8x4) for the fifth wicket swung the tide in their favour.
The two carried their side home with Milind stroking a boundary through the cover off pacer Stuart Meaker to wrap up the chase with nine balls to spare.
Earlier, England captain Alaistair Cook, who was suffering from cold, made himself available for the match and along with Bell flagged off the England innings. The England openers made a rather slow start. Cook was all about unhurried elegance, as he and Bell put up 70 runs. Sumit Narwal gave Delhi the breakthrough when he knocked off Cook’s off stump but Bell and Morgan, who made a fine fifty gave the innings the required direction.
ENGLAND XI: Alistair Cook b Narwal 44; Ian Bell lbw Sood 108; Joe Root c Bisht b Sood 10; Samit Patel b Sood 13; Eoin Morgan c Chand b Anand 52; Craig Kieswetter (not out) 41; Chris Woakes (not out) 3; Extras (B-1, LB-6, W-13, NB-3) 23; Total (5 wickets; 50 overs) 294.
Fall of wickets: 1-70, 2-94, 3-130, 4-243, 5-269.
Bowling: Ashish Nehra 9-0-48-0, Parvinder Awana 8-1-53-0, Sumit Narwal 10-0-66-1, Jagrit Anand 7-0-35-1, Varun Sood 10-0-45-3, Rajat Bhatia 6-0-40-0.
DELHI: Shikhar Dhawan lbw Root 110; Unmukt Chand c Cook b Tredwell 37; Jagrit Anand b Tredwell 4; Milind Kumar (not out) 78; Vaibhav Rawal b Dernbach 2; Rajat Bhatia (not out) 45; Extras (LB-10, W-7, NB-2) 19; Total (4 wickets; 48.3 overs) 295
Fall of wickets: 1-98, 2-122, 3-188, 4-192.
Bowling: Steven Finn 8-0-47-0, Jade Dernbach 9-1-46-1, Chris Woakes 6-0-40-0, Samit Patel 7-0-41-0, James Tredwell 9-1-49-2, Stuart Meaker 7.3-0-55-0, Joe Root 2-0-7-1.