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Jonathan Agnew at the Cricket World Cup

Graeme Swann and Ajmal Shahzad

England earn a dramatic draw against India at the World Cup as Sachin Tendulkar and Andrew Strauss both record centuries.

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent, Bangalore

The tie between India and England in Bangalore was as good a one-day match as I've ever seen - it had absolutely everything.

And bearing in mind one of the questions before the World Cup was whether the tournament could breathe life into 50-over cricket, this was as good an advert for the format as you could ever ask for.

It was exactly what this tournament needed - it has had its moments, but largely it has hobbled along until now.

The one downside is that the match doesn't really mean anything - either team could have won, either team could have lost, as far as the points structure goes it hasn't had the impact it perhaps should have done. That's why India captain Mahendra Dhoni was happy to put his men back off the last ball and accept the tie.

An interesting aspect of the game is that both captains will be disappointed with the outcome - both will think it was a game they should have won, England actually more so than India.

Ajmal Shahzad
Shahzad hit a six off his first ball

From 281-2 in the 43rd over, needing 58 more to win, Andrew Strauss's side lost four wickets for eight runs. With two new batsmen together, you can't keep up the rate of 11 runs per over.

Then India looked to have the game in the bag, until that remarkable shot from Ajmal Shahzad. To come in under lights in the last over of the match and slot your first ball for six is remarkable. It was a beautiful shot, it wasn't a slog - if Sachin Tendulkar had hit it we'd all have been eulogising over it.

If Strauss hadn't been made captain, he wouldn't be in the one-day side, and yet since he came back as skipper he's completely reinvented his approach to this form of the game.

How many times in the past has Sachin Tendulkar scored a century in a one-day game in India and not been man of the match? I suspect the answer to that is never. And it illustrates how magnificent Strauss's innings was.

Strauss regularly scores at more than a run a ball nowadays and he did so again against India, playing shots, timing it crisply, even playing a reverse sweep, which I had never seen from him before.

I still have one or two issues with him as a fielding captain: England too easily gives new batsmen opportunities to get off strike and must get the field in tighter.

Tim Bresnan stood out from the rest of the bowlers; to take 5-48 when the team's yielded 338 is a superb effort. He's got variety, he's got a good yorker, he's got great character, he doesn't give up - and he's got the same attitude with the bat. He's come to the fore, he really is a valuable member of this one-day team now.

While we - as lovers of cricket - can celebrate the game, England won't be entirely satisfied with their performance.

There are one or two question marks about their bowling line-up - they were better than in the opening match against the Netherlands, but it could barely have been any worse.

James Anderson is a shadow of the man who played such a key role in winning the Ashes, he's well off the boil.

He was very unlucky in his first over, when he could have had Sehwag three times, but he just hasn't got the control at the moment that he had in Australia. It would be nice if he could bowl well against Ireland on Wednesday and pick up some wickets to get the confidence back.

But I'm not complaining too much. We've seen an absolutely brilliant game of cricket, it has put this World Cup on the map - and there are many more people who will be aware of this tournament now than there were before this game.

Jonathan Agnew was speaking to Ben Dirs. Join Jonathan and Geoffrey Boycott for the TMS podcast



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see also
'Mixed feelings' over epic match
28 Feb 11 |  England
England & India in thrilling tie
27 Feb 11 |  England
Ragged England sneak past Dutch
22 Feb 11 |  England
Cricket World Cup 2011 squads
19 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup warm-up matches
16 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket


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