England won the World Cup with their all-action, dynamic brand of white-ball cricket but it proved their downfall on Tuesday when they threw away the first one-day international.
There was only one winner when Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy blazed their way to 135 without loss in reply to a stop-start innings by India that eventually saw them lifted to 317 for five by an expressive unbeaten 58 from debutant Krunal Pandya.
But, once Roy fell in just the 15th-over to another of India’s endless supply of gifted newcomers in Prasidh Krishna, England collapsed in a heap when they just needed to bat sensibly to take a 1-0 lead in this three-match 50-over series.
England collapsed from 135 without loss to 251 all out to lose the first ODI to India by 66 runs
Shardul Thakur (left) and debutant Prasidh Krishna (right) combined to derail England’s chase
So instead of beginning their third series against India this winter with their third victory to follow opening triumphs in the Test and T20 matches, England now need to win the last two one-day games to avoid defeat in all formats.
Eoin Morgan does not want his side to change now and has the medals to back up his attacking philosophy.
But he must know deep down England needed to be smarter in the face of skilful seam bowling from India rather than replace fearlessness with recklessness.
‘I think we did a lot of things right today,’ insisted an unrepentant Morgan. ‘Our openers were outstanding but we failed to build on their start.
Jonny Bairstow (right) and Jason Roy appeared to be making a mockery of the 318 target
But after Roy fell four short of his half century, the hosts slowly wrestled back control
‘When we have bad days with the bat it can look worse than it is. We play aggressive cricket but we just need to execute it better than we did today.’
Nobody was more aggressive yet ultimately frustrating than Bairstow, who batted like a dream back at the top of the order in racing to 94 off 66 balls but died by the sword in trying to reach three figures in the grand manner.
Then, with Ben Stokes having fallen for one having been promoted to three in his first ODI since that glorious day at Lord’s in 2019, there was no-one with the nous of the missing Joe Root to pace an England chase that saw them crumble to 251 all out.
This, though, was a day that belonged to the older brother of Hardik Pandya, given his first 50-over opportunity aged 29 and then thrown into the fray when his gifted sibling edged Stokes to slip to leave India reeling at 205 for five in the 41st over.
Stokes fell soon after before Bairstow was caught off Thakur six short of a hundred runs
Bhuvneshwar Kumar then came back to take the key wickets of the likes of Moeen Ali (left)
The father of the Pandya brothers died suddenly in January and Krunal had been moved to tears when presented with his India cap by Hardik before play.
Now he marked every dazzling stroke in animated fashion as he raced to his half century off just 26 balls.
Then, after he had helped smash 103 off the last 56 deliveries of the innings in partnership with the veteran KL Rahul, preferred as batsman-keeper to Rishabh Pant, Krunal had to cut short a TV interview when he was overcome by the emotion of it all.
England, meanwhile, were left to rue their lack of death bowling depth without the injured Jofra Archer. And, perhaps, the steadying hand of captain Morgan, who had to leave the field in the 41st-over to have four stitches in the split webbing of his right hand.
Krunal Pandya and KL Rahul scored fifties as India posted 317-5 in the first innings in Pune
Ben Stokes took three wickets on his first ODI appearance since the 2019 World Cup final
For good measure his deputy Jos Buttler was involved in another verbal exchange, this time with Krunal and Rahul, as England’s wheels came off at the end of the innings.
India had been given a good start by Shikhar Dhawan who fell two short of his 18th one-day century after being badly dropped on 59 by poor Moeen Ali on his belated return to the England side.
But, with Stokes returning himself with a flourish with the ball in taking three key wickets, India lost their way in what was a good advertisement for the fluctuations of the 50-over game until their decisive late flourish.
Nine England wickets then fell to seam, four of them to debutant Prasidh, but fittingly the one exception came when Sam Curran was snared by the slow left-arm of Krunal, who completed a debut to remember.
Delhi boys Shikhar Dhawan (left) and Virat Kohli (right) also scored half- centuries
Dhawan then fell two runs short of his 18th ODI century after he was caught by Morgan
‘White-ball cricket is always on an upward slant and we want to try to continue to push the envelope,’ added Morgan.
‘Sometimes we don’t get it right but I’d prefer to lose like that than by 10 or 20 runs playing in a manner that doesn’t suit us. That is the way we play and that’s the way we’ll continue to play.’
England will now assess the fitness of Morgan and Sam Billings, who sprained his collarbone diving in the field but was also fit to bat, and will consider giving opportunities to Reece Topley, Liam Livingstone and Matt Parkinson in the final two matches of the tour.
But they know they must win at least one of them on Friday or Sunday to avoid losing their hard-fought status as the No 1 ranked 50-over side in the world.