They had to wait to find out, though, as persistent rain delayed the game until there was only time to play a 23-overs-a-side slog. Parthiv Patel got the message, flaying Tim Bresnan's first two overs for 26 runs (16 of them coming in Bresnan's second). James Anderson put the brakes on, having Patel caught behind for a whirlwind 28, even though there was a margin of uncertainty as to whether the batsman made contact with the ball. Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane briefly consolidated before forcing the pace, taking India past 100 at a good clip. Dravid departed for a quick and useful 32, caught off Graeme Swann, but Rahane went on to make his first ODI fifty, continuing his hugely impressive arrival to international cricket.
Virat Kohli made only 9, but while Suresh Raina took the attack to England, Rahane departed for 54 to become Graeme Swann's second wicket. Raina took Jade Dernbach for 16 in an over to keep India moving, even hitting Tim Bresnan for 6 the ball after Bresnan removed Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Bresnan had his revenge, removing Raina in the last over of the innings for a blistering 40 off 19 balls (s/r 210.52). 182/5 became 187/8, as both Manoj Tiwary and Ravi Ashwin fell trying to edge India closer to 200. As it was, they had to settle for 187, with England having done well to rein them in after a good top order effort.
Needing 8.17 an over from their 23 overs, England got off to a good start with Alastair Cook and Craig Kieswetter blasting England to 56/0 in only 6 overs. The England wicketkeeper eventually departed for a rapid 46, but he had helped bring the run rate down to 7.23 by the time he was dismissed, with England at 67/1. Ian Bell and Cook kept the runs flowing, with none of India's bowlers able to exert any control or pressure over the scoring.
The 100 came up in only the 10th over, and even when Ravi Ashwin made the breakthrough (getting Bell for a fast 25), Cook and Ravi Bopara kept England on course. The ODI captain reached his 50* off just 34 balls, and even when Bopara went for 24, the required run rate was already below 6.00 an over. With plenty of time and plenty of wickets in hand, England cantered to an easy victory, going 1-0 in the truncated series.
I think I've said it before, but India must be wondering what they have to do to win a game. They had a great chance in the first ODI before it was washed out, and despite a good batting effort in this game, their bowlers never stood a chance against a confident and positive England outfit.
Ajinkya Rahane seems to be India's sole bright spot from an otherwise painful tour, scoring useful runs in his last three international innings. The fact that India have won neither of those games tells the story.
Craig Kieswetter's place might have been in jeopardy before this game, but he earned himself a reprieve with an innings that took the wind out of India's bowlers. Cook's 80* (off just 63 balls) should solidify his credentials as an ODI opener, although England surely benefitted from an Indian attack low on confidence, in foreign conditions, and missing key players.
It's no fun being World Cup winners and former #1 Test team.
India: 187/8 (Ajinkya Rahane 54, Graeme Swann 5-0-33-3) in 23 overs, at 8.13 runs an over
England: 188/3 (Alastair Cook 80*, Ravi Ashwin 5-0-42-2) in 22.1 overs, at 8.48 runs an over
England win by 7 wickets and lead the 5-game series 1-0
Man of the Match: Alastair Cook