Put into bat under cloud cover, India's new opening combination of Parthiv Patel and ODI debutante Ajinkya Rahane, coming off a strong showing in the Twenty20, started cautiously. They accelerated towards the end of the first mandatory Powerplay, reaching 43/0 by the first 10 overs. Rahane continued to impress, sinking his teeth into Stuart Broad for four quick boundaries . Patel wasn't far behind, taking James Anderson for consecutive boundaries, but with the run rate over 5.00 an over, Rahane was the first to go, falling to Broad. He departed for 40, ending India's best opening stand of the tour at 82/1.
Rahul Dravid was the next man in, playing in his final ODI series, but he made only 2 before being caught behind off Broad. Replays suggested there had been no contact between bat and ball, but controversies or not, the two quick wickets slowed India's momentum. Patel reached his half-century as he and Virat Kohli slowly distanced themselves from Dravid's wicket. The 150 came up with India's run rate moving back up to 5.00. The 100 partnership came up, and Patel moved to 95 before falling short of what would have been his first ODI century, caught behind off James Anderson. A vital stand snapped at 190/3, but India still in the driver's seat. England struck again, this time with Stuart Broad forcing Rohit Sharma to retire hurt with a fractured finger off the first ball he faced. India effectively 190/4, and Kohli was bowled by Samit Patel after reaching his half-century, with India 206/4.
But Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni dug deep and ensured England wouldn't press home their advantage. Quick runs were biffed as India passed 250, and even though Raina fell for a speedy 38, his job was done. Tim Bresnan pulled things back for England a bit with two consecutive wickets (including that of Dhoni for 33), but India's 274/7 was easily one of their best batting efforts this whole tour.
Alastair Cook started things well for England with a boundary off the first ball of the innings, but Praveen Kumar removed him for just 4. England in early trouble at 6/1, and despite Jonathan Trott sticking it to Vinay Kumar for two boundaries, it was Praveen who struck again, removing Craig Kieswetter for only 6. Now it was England's turn to be in trouble, at 20/2, but before they could fight back, or India could press home their advantage, the heavens opened and washed out play for the rest of the game. Match abandoned, no result.
Frustrating beyond belief, especially for India, who, for the first time in a very long time, seemed to be in a position of control. More troubling is that they have to deal with another injury, this one to Rohit Sharma. That said, Parthiv Patel's form and Ajinkya Rahane's good debuts have given the beleaguered World Champions something from which to take heart.
England, on the other hand, will be relieved that their ODI series didn't get off to a potentially bad start. You don't want to be 20/2 chasing 275, especially when Kevin Pietersen is, for some inexplicable reason, "rested". The washout gives England valuable time to regroup and figure out how and why they went wrong in this game, while India will wonder what it will take to save their players from injury, let alone what it'll take to win a game.
India: 274/7 (Parthiv Patel 95, Tim Bresnan 10-0-54-2) in 50 overs, at 5.48 runs an over
England: 27/2 (Jonathan Trott 14*, Praveen Kumar 4-1-11-2) in 7.2 overs, at 3.68 runs an over
Match abandoned due to rain; no result