Watch India vs England : Turning Points – India’s hits, England’s misses
Gambhir’s first-ball life
The action started with the first ball, from James Anderson. Gautam Gambhir tapped him towards short midwicket and took off for a hard single. Samit Patel fielded and, seeing Gambhir struggle, aimed for the non-striker’s end. His diving under-arm flick just missed the stumps with the batsman yet to reach the crease. Gambhir capitalised on the life, scoring 70 and sharing a stand of 134 for the fourth wicket with Yuvraj Singh.
Yuvraj gets going
At 29 for 3, India were in trouble and desperately needed a substantial partnership. Yuvraj had faced six balls without scoring when Andrew Flintoff strayed down the legside, allowing Yuvraj to ease it down to the fine-leg boundary. Worse, he’d overstepped and India had a free hit. Flintoff dug it in short of a length and Yuvraj merely stayed at the crease and clubbed it high over midwicket for six. That set the tone for Yuvraj’s knock and gave the innings the impetus it needed.
Pathan’s final burst
Steve Harmison began the final over of the innings with India at a gettable 274 for 8. Harbhajan Singh was run out off the first ball, and England’s mood lifted. Munaf Patel stole a single off the first ball, bringing Yusuf Pathan, on 33 off 25, to the crease. Over the next four balls England’s target went from gettable to forgettable. Two consecutive good length deliveries were heaved over the on-side for six by Pathan, who followed up with a scoop for four over backward point and a single off the last ball. India had 18 off the over and a firm grip on the match.
England, unsettled by that late burst, lost more momentum in the first over of their chase thanks to one moment of athletic brilliance from Suresh Raina. Ian Bell tapped Zaheer Khan towards cover and took off for a quick single. Raina sprinted across to his right, timed his dive to perfection and in one motion underarmed the ball to the stumps with Bell a yard short of his crease. There was no need for a replay.
England’s batting Powerplay had yielded 59 runs and with Pietersen and Flintoff at the crease they looked like winners. Enter Yuvraj for his final over. The second ball trapped Flintoff lbw, the batsman attempting a slog sweep against the turn; three balls later a peach of a delivery crept through the daylight between Kevin Pietersen’s bat and pad to hit the off stump. Game over.