No Rohit Sharma, no runs flowing off the blade for India in ODIs in Australia it seems. With their opener missing the clash due to a sore hamstring, England, led by Steven Finn and James Anderson ran riot at the Gabba to send India's big batting guns walking back to the pavilion one after the other in a hurry.
Choosing to bat first after winning the toss, MS Dhoni would have hoped for a better batting performance from his team after their below-par effort against Australia in their tri-series opener on Sunday, but what followed was an innings where the wickets were the order of the day, with England, courtesy the masterful Anderson (8.3-2-18-4) and the speedy Finn (8-0-33-5), making full use of a bouncy Brisbane pitch, ripping through the Indian batting order to bowl them out for a mere 153 in 39.3 overs.
Only Dhoni, for a little while, and Stuart Binny, in for R Ashwin, showed any real fight with the bat, and had it not been for the all-rounder's 44 in 55 balls (3x4, 2x6), it might have been a lot worse.
England's chase was as easy as they come with Ian Bell (88 n.o., 91b, 8x4), out for a golden duck in the first match, showing his class to waltz his team to 156 for one in just 27.3 overs – their biggest win over India in terms of overs left. The quick chase means a bonus point victory for England and India now have their task cut out to make the final of the tri-series after this abysmal show.
A wicket looked inevitable from the first delivery, and there was little surprise when James Anderson sent Shikhar cannot-score-runs-anymore Dhawan (1, 5b) early, with that dismissal setting the tone for the rest of the India innings.
It is vital in these conditions for the openers to stay at the crease and ensure there are plenty of wickets in hand – the run rate can be made up, but if you lose those early wickets then you are always chasing the game, and Dhawan's wickets in the first two matches have done just that for India.
To be fair, though, it was an absolute peach of a delivery from Anderson, who bowled two straight maiden overs, including a wicket-maiden, to open up his tri-series campaign, with the ball pitching on middle and just swinging a touch to take the outside edge through to Jos Buttler.
India again decided to keep Virat Kohli at No.4, protecting him again perhaps against the new ball and the fact that Anderson had his tail up, with Ambati Rayudu coming in. It was a questionable decision made even more so by Rayudu's strange little innings, where he threw the bat at the ball plenty of times with little effect and then got out to an even stranger shot when India were in deep trouble.
Before Rayudu's dismissal, however, there was plenty of drama with Ajinkya Rahane, after a solid 33 (40b, 1x4, 1x6), gifting his wicket away to Finn, looping a catch to mid-on while going for a ridiculously needless hoick coming down the wicket.
With India on 57 for two in the 15th over, a Kohli (4, 8b) special was needed, but, for the second consecutive game of the tri-series, India's main man failed with the bat, with Finn again coming to the fore to find the outside edge.
So, Suresh Raina's turn again then to bat India out of trouble? Not this time, however, as Moeen Ali (9-0-31-1) continued to be India's bane, with Raina's dance down the pitch off just his third delivery leading to a simple stumping for Buttler.
Ali was getting plenty of turn from the Gabba wicket, which again brought India's decision to go with just one spinner into question, but that question was way back in the minds at this moment as Dhoni, India's ODI batsman extraordinaire, and Rayudu looked to restore some semblance of sanity back to the proceedings.
That did not quite go according to plan, as Rayudu (23, 53b, 2x4) got out in the over after Raina's dismissal, looking to run the ball to third man and gifting Finn his third wicket of the match.
At 67/5, India were sinking fast with a bunch of gaping holes in their usually solid ODI ship, and Dhoni and Binny did their best to plug in the holes with a 70-run partnership in 17 overs, but in came that batting Powerplay, and out went Dhoni with Akshar Patel following him back for a golden duck.
Finn was the man to do the damage again, a glove down the leg side off a short delivery sending Dhoni (34, 61b, 1x4) back, before Akshar played on off his very first delivery, as all that rebuilding from the India skipper and Binny was undone in a couple of deliveries.
From there it was further downhill and Anderson also go in on the act to end India's innings in a hurry.
England then went into the break on 41/1 in six overs, with Moeen Ali (8, 12b, 1x4) the man to get out off the bowling of Binny. Ian Bell, though, made a blistering start and with James Taylor (56 n.o., 63b, 4x4) playing well at the other end as well, it was as comfortable as they come for the team who usually end up on the wrong end of the result in ODIs against India.
Fall of wickets: India: Dhawan (1/1, 2.1 overs); Rahane (57/2, 14.3 overs); Kohli, (64/3, 16.4 overs); Raina (65/4, 17.2 overs), Rayudu (67/5, 19 overs), Dhoni (137/6, 37.1 overs), Akshar (137/7, 37.2 overs), Bhuvneshwar (143/8, 37.2 overs), Binny (153/9, 39.2), Shami (153/10, 39.3 overs).
England: Ali (25/1, 3 overs).
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